Scottish legends Big Country are back on the road with a ‘Best of’ tour following the massive success of shows to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their chart-topping Steeltown album last year.
Still with two original members, Bruce Watson on guitars and vocals and Mark Brzezicki on drums, the band promises an evening of great music and energy.
But 30 years on, do the songs have the same energy as they did?
“Yeah, definitely,” said Bruce during a break in the soundcheck in Bristol. “We play the songs identical to the way we did them, which makes for a brilliant night.”
As well as Steeltown, the follow-up album The Seer gave them a second gold disc in 1986, whilst their 1983 offering The Crossing went platinum.
The band were also responsible for some superb singles such as In A Big Country, Fields of Fire, Look Away, Chance and Wonderland.
What made Big Country’s songs unique was their way of playing guitars to sound a little like bagpipes.
“It came about just by continuously playing,” Bruce explained.
“Stuart (Stuart Adamson, the co-founder of the band, who sadly died in 2001) and I were jamming with our guitars and the sound evolved.”
“With all our influences, we didn’t want to be too bluesy. It sounds very complicated but it’s not really.”
After a number of hit singles and the four massive albums, the band’s chart profile seemed to wane, although they still maintained an enthusiastic live following.
“I think there was a number of reasons for that,” the Canadian-born guitarist said.
“After those four albums we had lost a lot of our naivety and had become a bit mainstream.”
Bruce states that Wonderland is his favourite track, “There is no real reason why – I just like it and there it is.”
The death in Honolulu of founder member and ex-Skids Stuart Adamson must have hit the band hard.
“Well, at the time it happened in 2001, the band had broken up,” he said. “Stuart had relocated to America although we never saw much of each other, but it was a horrible, horrible time.”
Onto happier things and the ‘Best of’ tour; apparently it will also carry on the celebration of ‘Steeltown’.
“We played the album in its entirety on last year’s tour but not everyone saw it and we are playing venues this time around that we didn’t do in 2014, so we’ll be playing a few songs from it.”
In 2010, Bruce’s son Jamie joined the band on guitar and vocals and Watson senior loves sharing a stage with his son.“It’s great fun, if I make a mistake I can just glare at him and blame it on him.”
The ‘Best of Big Country Tour’ visits The Academy 3, Manchester, on Saturday, December 12.
Tickets are available from the box office and all the usual agencies.