Country Club Fanzine Issue 11 – Review by Barry Gray.

Big Country have certainly come a long way since I first saw them at a dingy Nottingham night club in November ’82 in front of just a handful of people.  Only three songs (Harvest Home, Lost Patrol and Porrohman) remain in the live set from that time, but the newer songs more than make up, in both quality, for those which have been dropped.

The band opened with the excellent Raindance.  On looking around the Arena, I was amazed to see the majority of the audience in the stands had remained seated – there were even stewards telling fans to sit down! It wasn’t much better in the Arena seats either, with most people standing quite motionless.  Were they at the right concert? I wondered.  Anyway, second was Wonderland which was followed by the storming Lost Patrol.  Next up came Steeltown, my favourite track on the latest album, and then it was Flame of The West, the first of the two new songs added to the set since the October tour.  The crowd started to liven up to the anthemic In A Big Country, which sounded better than ever before, and which Stuart jokingly introduced as Cum On Feel The Noize! next was the other new song Just A Shadow, which was followed by the epic The Storm, its extended intro swirling impressively around the vast venue.  The songs from The Crossing seemed to get the best reception and Chance had everyone singing along before the then current single Where The Rose is Sown back to back with Come Back To Me.  The set was brought to a stunning crescendo with 1000stars and Harvest Home (the magic of which has never really been captured on vinyl), leaving everyone shouting for more.  After a short break, the band encored with East of Eden and Porrohman before leaving the stage again.  They then returned to play Tracks Of My Tears, and when they launched into the final song Fields of Fire ( complete with the snatch of Boy about Town), I couldn’t help remembering the last time they’d played it here in December ’82.  Then it had been greeted by some sections of the audience with sarcastic cheers when Stuart announced it as their last song, but now almost everyone was singing and dancing along.

But all too soon it was over.  It will probably be a long time until the next British tour, but whenever it is, when planning the London gigs, in future please leave Wembley Arena to show jumping and ice skating, and play somewhere like the increasingly popular Brixton Academy.  This can accommodate something like 6,000 people standing and is the sort of venue that can help create the atmosphere Big Country gigs are all about …

By Barry Gray

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