Bay City Rollers rock Usher Hall

The Bay City Rollers ferform at the Usher Hall, Edinburgh. Picture: Toby Williams
The Bay City Rollers ferform at the Usher Hall, Edinburgh. Picture: Toby Williams
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A SEA of tartan swayed in time to the timeless pop classics that saw a generation through their teenage years at the Usher Hall last night.

Songs that created the phenomenon known as Rollermania and that have since provided a soundtrack to life for the thousands who had travelled from all corners of the globe to see the Bay City Rollers reunited on their home turf.

The Bay City Rollers on stage at the Usher Hall. Picture: Toby Williams

The Bay City Rollers on stage at the Usher Hall. Picture: Toby Williams

Well, three of them at least, and if there was any doubt that their fans could still scream it was quickly dispelled as Les McKeown, Alan Longmuir and Stuart “Woody” Wood walked out for a homecoming to remember.

To rapturous applause the three originals beamed from the stage.

“Hello Edinburgh. It’s great to be back in our home town. Thank you for taking us back into your hearts.”

Woody, the youngest Roller, added: “It’s smashing to be back. I love you all.”

I’m ecstatic. Seeing the Bay City Rollers in Edinburgh has been a long-held dream. I’ve fancied Alan since I was 14 and he’s never changed in my eyes.

Jan Deighton

And the man who started it all, Alan Longmuir, smiled as he said: “It’s nice to be back again. You’re brilliant. Thank you.”

Many of the fans may be in their 50s and 60s now, some in wheelchairs or walking with the aid of a stick, but for 80 minutes those vintage teenagers were transported back to a time when their only concern was deciding which of the Rollers would grace their bedroom wall.

It was the day they had waited more than a decade-and-a-half for and as they queued outside the Usher Hall – some for as long as four hours before the Rollers were due to take to the stage – many could not contain their excitement.

The same buzz extended to bars and restaurants, all awash with tartan in the hours leading up to the gig, their first in the Capital since welcoming in the Millennium with an appearance in Princes Street Gardens for Hogmanay.

Bay City Rollers fans Lorraine Lewis, Mary Connell and Elaine Stewart. Picture: Toby Williams

Bay City Rollers fans Lorraine Lewis, Mary Connell and Elaine Stewart. Picture: Toby Williams

Support worker Jan Deighton, 55, from Prestonpans, said: “I’m ecstatic. Seeing the Bay City Rollers in Edinburgh has been a long-held dream. I’ve fancied Alan since I was 14 and he’s never changed in my eyes.”

Cashier Linda Nightingale, 55, from Willowbrae, said: “I’ve been a fan since 1974 and never in a million years thought I’d see them back on stage together.

“I am beyond excited, I feel like I’m a teenager again.”

Dance teacher Julie Turner, 57, travelled from Sheffield.

“I’ve been a fan since 1971 when Nobby Clark was the singer,” she said. “It was really special to see them together again.”

The occasion was too much for some, with two women escorted off stage for trying to get to Les during the band’s version of Loch Lomond.

The Capital had been well and truly Rollerised. And it’ll be the same tonight when they play at the same venue again, before Edinburgh’s Tartan Terrors are off to take Manchester and London by storm.

Rollermania is very definitely back. But then, as the fans who have loyally followed the band for 40-odd years will tell you, it never really went away.

lrudden@edinburghnews.com