REVIEW: Big Country, O2 Academy 16 April 2013

As their new album suggests, the journey is just starting once more for Scottish rock stalwarts Big Country. The story of the band could have regretfully but understandably come to a close a few years ago when much respected former vocalist Stuart Adamson passed on. Some journeys are not meant to end, some must go on until every tale has had the chance to be told and as The Journey has proved there is so much more to be said about Big Country and as the five-piece stepped on stage to huge encouraging cheers, the realisation for all those gathered at the 02 would have been one of new chapter ready to start and be enjoyed. Ian Hall reviews

Stuart Adamson of course can never be replaced, no one should try to substitute this unique man who was much loved by his fans and his peers but in Stuart’s old friend, Mike Peters of The Alarm, there is a man who can give the right deference and same passion for music as the fallen comrade. After touring with Big Country a couple of years ago, Mike Peters has recorded and dedicated the new album with drummer Mark Brzezicki, guitarist Bruce Watson, bass player Derek Forbes and the incredible talent of Bruce’s son Jamie to the memory of the man whose presence can still be felt by the fans as they listen to his great voice.

The crowd that had assembled at the 02 Academy in Liverpool were given a performance that befitted the memory but also showed that the group were absolutely here once more to be bigger and more bouncy for their audience than ever before. The longer the band played the sweatier the room became; it was a moment to savour. Whilst the new album took centre stage with songs such as In A Broken Promised Land, Angels and Promises, Winter Fire and an corking version of the track Hurt, the night also belonged to the past and an excellent homage to the favourites of Look Away, Look Away, Fields of Fire and a storming version of In A Big Country.

Big Country always knew how to make a crowd leave a venue content and delighted by what they had seen, there was never a time where audiences may have thought what they had witnessed was a rock and roll illusion. As the lights went up and the band said their goodbyes to great acclaim, the knowledge that the past and the future had united was a heartening and thrilling prospect.

WORDS: Ian D Hall
IMAGE: Andy Labrow

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