The Proclaimers in concert at Carlisle

Last night, my wife and I headed down to Carlisle Sands Centre to enjoy an evening with The Proclaimers as they kicked off their 2009 UK tour.

The Proclaimers are probably one of Scotland's finest exports, with the world at large knowing their 500 miles song that accompanied the Johnny Depp Benny and Joon movie.

The night started off with the support act, Miles Hunt and Erica Nockalls, from the Wonder Stuff. They played some of their new stuff as well as some of their old material including "size of a cow". You got the sense that Miles Hunt was annoyed he was famous once, and no longer isn't. That said, he did engage with the audience, with small anecdotes and stories regarding the songs he and Erica (who doesn't want to smile) were about to sing.

A quick 20 minute break as the stage was setup for the main headline act to come on and at 20:30 the boys walked out and straight into their set.

The stage was set up very simple: one of the brothers stayed on the left while the other remained on the right, and they never moved from those spots the whole night. They launched into each song with the energy and passion you come to expect from a good old fashioned Proclaimers song, belting out numbers like "Lets Get Married", "Sunshine on Leith", "Life without you" to name but a few.

The 90minute set was fantastic from the perspective of getting to hear the boys play the favourites and, for us the audience, to have a right good old sing-a-long (shout?) with them. My throat is still hoarse and ears are still ringing.

However, I don't feel I got to know them any better. They never talked to the audience, never told any wee stories, or even engaged in any shape or form. They could have been playing anywhere, and I didn't feel I witnessed anything special that would have me saying years later "ooh, you didn't see the Carlisle gig? oh you missed out". Other artists manage this wonderfully well, which makes touring so special for both performer and audience alike.

Fortunately they have such a wonderful back catalogue to carry an evening of entertainment without feeling too disappointed at the lack of intimacy. Overall, a great evening out for any Proclaimers music lover.


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