Review: Bay City Rollers

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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BAGPIPES skirled as the ‘boys’ bounced on stage, waving to their fans before kicking off the night with a glorious rendition of Summerlove Sensation, one lyric strangely appropriate – “Now the waiting the anticipating is over, over, over, over.”

*******

Usher Hall

After storming Glasgow’s Barrowlands last week, this long-awaited homecoming for the Bay City Rollers saw Les McKeown, Alan Longmuir and Stuart “Woody” Wood ramp things up a notch.

McKeown, now 60, the ultimate showman, is a consummate frontman, his cheeky charisma and easy banter ensuring everyone hung on his every word.

Longmuir, 67, on guitar now instead of the bass he played back in the day, looked every inch the elder statesman of rock, relaxed and obviously having a blast, while Woody, the youngest of the group at 58, came into his own with some blistering guitar solos.

The 2000-strong capacity crowd were in Roller heaven as the three originals mined a back catalogue of hits – Saturday Night, the compulsory Shang-a-Lang, and even Keep On Dancing – Les once again reminding the audience that when that was a hit, only Alan Longmuir was in the band’s line-up.

He and Woody joined a couple of years later.

The spotlight shone on the original Roller too when he provided the vocals on the album track Rock ‘n’ Roll Honeymoon, much to the delight of the crowd. Other favourites receiving an airing included Give a Little Love, All of Me and Love Me Like I Love You.

An unexpected bonus was a Rollerised rendition of Loch Lomond and the cracking forthcoming single Boomerang.

With a four-piece backing band playing along, the Rollers sound is better than ever and the infectious nature of their songs old and new ensured much of the evening was one big communal sing-along.

Exiting after a rousing rendition of Shang-a-Lang, it was obviously emotional for those on stage and off as the roar went up for an encore. The Rollers duly obliged with, what else, but Bye Bye Baby, which again had the crowd up and screaming.