Gig review: The Proclaimers bring a little sunshine to The Playhouse

Craig and Charlie Reid, have a knack for straightforward, heartfelt songs. Picture: Toby Williams
Craig and Charlie Reid, have a knack for straightforward, heartfelt songs. Picture: Toby Williams
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EXACTLY 25 years ago, Craig and Charlie Reid were enjoying their initial taste of success with single Letter From America, and tonight – at the first of two sold-out hometown shows – it’s that track which makes everyone stand up and take notice, literally.

The Proclaimers

The Playhouse

* * * *

While the first handful of songs are steady enough, it takes the band’s first big hit to ignite the atmosphere, as those in the stalls jump to their feet, before the whole place rises as one as the brothers belt out one favourite after another including I’m On My Way, There’s A Touch, and Sky Takes The Soul.

And, somewhat unsurprisingly, standing and swaying soon gives way to stamping and stomping as soon as the opening chords to (I’m Gonna Be) 500 Miles crunch out.

Craig and Charlie have always been unlikely rock stars, and their backing musicians – who look like they’ve been recruited from the over-40s five-a-side league at Sighthill – aren’t much different. But it’s that down-to-earth demeanour which is unquestionably part of the Proclaimers’ charm.

Whether it’s the social and political commentary of Cap In Hand, Just Look Now and The Long Haul, or love songs like Then I Met You and Let’s Get Married, the Reid twins also have the knack for writing straightforward, heartfelt songs that avoid being over-earnest or contrived.

New tracks like Spinning Around In The Air and Women And Wine go down well too, as does the customary cover of Steve Earle’s My Old Friend The Blues.

Given the setting, it’s a pity there’s no space for another of their covers, (I’m Gonna) Burn Your Playhouse Down, but it’s probably more apt that the evening belongs to a different tune instead.

As the gig coincides with the start of filming in the Capital of the movie Sunshine On Leith – the big screen adaptation of the theatre show inspired by the group’s music – it’s the stirring rendition of the title track that’s this evening’s standout. Complete with 3000 backing singers (and the odd Hibs scarf), it makes for five minutes of glorious goosebumps. Even the most diehard Jambos in attendance wouldn’t be able to resist joining in.