The Waterboys - Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, Wed 3 Mar (4 stars)

The Waterboys - Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, Wed 3 Mar

Photo: Paul Macmanus

Three hours of intense, lyrical rock music for grown-ups

Backstage after tonight’s show, Mike Scott, Waterboy-in-chief since the band’s inception in 1983, is disgruntled. His band have put in a considerable shift, knocking out not only a connoisseur’s best-of set but the bulk of its recent and remarkable song-suite An Appointment With Mr Yeats. They even managed a third batch, of their string-driven folksy gubbins, mostly in praise of misty-moisty mornings. Yet, despite it all, despite the sweat, the strenuous sincerity and several frenzies of instrument-swapping, their Glasgow audience, though attentive, remain as sedate as a spring morn in Spiddal. But such are the travails of the veteran rock act. The regular fans get older, new ones get harder to come by and no matter how spry or reinvigorated the band itself may feel the audience can’t stop fretting about the babysitter. The shame is that Scott remains one of the few performers who properly shirks the shackles of heritage. As ever, the arrangements tonight are inventive, the playing precise, the commitment and engagement total; what we get are three hours of intense, lyrical rock music for grown-ups. And some regrettable stuff about faeries in woodland. Considered in the context of the rest of tonight’s tour-de-force, though, it was difficult to hold it against the compelling troubador who is Mike Scott.

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