Edwyn Collins and his family had no choice. No business decisions about revisiting the back catalogue or touring a career’s worth of material. It was the cold hard facts of a double brain hemorrhage that made him think long about his options.
But that was after years of getting his life back together through sheer spirit and determination. The man and his family (for it’s a family affair at Collins’ gigs these days) are a true inspiration.
Apparently, The X Factor was on, on Saturday night. Us few hundred or so who packed into the unique setting of The Well at Liverpool Cathedral could have cared less though. We were in the presence of something a little more important than entertainment.
Although their was plenty of that on offer too. But, you can have it all you know… you just have to pay the price.
And as Collins and the tightest, funkiest white band this side of 1981 strutted their way through the material, we went through it all: the joy of seeing a fellow human being come back from the very edge; the thrill inside only live music can give when your favourite singer delivers your favourite line; the pulsating rhythm of the songs that take you back to that first indie disco and the knowledge that you were singing along live to one of the best guitar pop songs ever recorded (yes, he did A Girl Like You).
Your reviewer did something unprecedented on Saturday night too: I made some notes just after the gig. “The funk of the JB’s with the menace of the Velvet Underground,” and “the music hovers rather than soars so you can trust it.” I need not have bothered.
It was all still with me the next, erm, afternoon. As it should be. Rip It Up, Falling and Laughing, In Your Eyes (with son William joining in on the singing) and a Pete Wylie-assisted run through the VU’s Pale Blue Eyes. Beautiful.
Edwyn Collins and his band are always threatening to take off and manage to achieve the impossible by keeping you on the edge at all times without throwing you over it with a false high. They were tight. Colourful. Rubbery. But, above all, they were true.
And, as Collins’ sings on Searching For The Truth, allowing me to leave the last word with him, that’s all we can ask for: “I’m searching for the truth/we’ll get there/some sweet day/we’ll get there in the end…”
Pic: John Johnson