There's just something a bit desperate when the ‘face' of an established band is replaced - Liam Rudden

THERE’S a bucket-list of songs I want to hear performed live by the original artist before I die. At the Forth Awards, earlier this week, another was ticked off when 80’s icon Marc Almond was revealed as one of the guests.

Saturday, 16th November 2019, 7:00 am
Updated Saturday, 16th November 2019, 8:20 am
Wet Wet Wet at the Forth Awards
Wet Wet Wet at the Forth Awards

The song? Soft Cell’s Tainted Love, naturally.

At 62, Almond still retains his elphin-like aspect and clearly enjoyed his three-song set in the packed Usher Hall.

“Edinburgh,” he declared is “one of my favourite cities” and judging from his reception, Edinburgh still has a lot of love for the singer.

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A nice little warm up ahead of his headline appearance at this year’s Hogmanay, Almond was one of a number of surprise turns at this year’s awards - the line up is always a closely guarded secret known only to the organisers and presenters, Boogie and Arlene of Forth One’s breakfast show.

So much so, they didn’t even share the roster with their Boogie In The Morning producer Marty Ewart... surely a dangerous move considering he’s the man in control during the daily broadcasts. Revenge is sweet Marty.

As Boogie and Arlene worked their way through the awards, the famous faces came and went. The first ‘name’ to perform was Edinburgh’s very own Nina Nesbitt.

Wet Wet Wet were there too, albeit without Marti Pellow and that song, yes, there was no rendition of Love Is All Around as Liberty X star Kevin Simm provided lead vocals as the rest of the band appeared to have a ball.

For me, I’m afraid it’s just never the same when the ‘face of a band’ is replaced. Like Queen without Freddie Mercury, Genesis without Peter Gabriel and Marillion without Fish, there’s something a bit desperate about the resulting affair.

Shena was also on the bill. If that name means nothing to you, it didn’t to me either until she gave a rable-rousing rendition of There’s Nothing I Won’t Do , a No 1 for JX in 1986 on which she provided vocals. Even a power outage midway through her set couldn’t dampen Shena’s spirits as she whipped the audience up off their seats for a bit of good old skool punch-the-air raving... not once but twice.

With everyone suited and booted and dressed in their finest attire, it proved a surreal spectacle and a big thanks must go to Sandy at Slaters on George Street for kitting me out.

Sandy always manages to find something I’d never think of wearing, which not only looks great but proves a talking point. So, for those who asked, now you know where the blue suit came from.

If Shena brought the room to its feet, the final guest of the day, Sophie Ellis-Bextor ensured there was Murder On The Dance-floor, her 2001 hit bringing another Forth Awards to a close.

Always a boisterous occasion, the Forth Awards have become a Capital institution and with Boogie, Arlene and Micky Gavin helming them, long may that continue.