.@planetmosh reviews .@blackberrysmoke live in Glasgow.
Friday night saw the opening night of the Fire in the Hole 2014 tour by southern rockers Blackberry Smoke. Arriving at the venue half an hour before the doors opened, and seeing a queue of hundreds already stretching down Sauchiehall Street I knew I was in for a good night. This gig was moved from the much smaller King Tuts due to massive demand, and the bigger O2 ABC completely sold out.
As a roadie wafted incense across the stage just before the band appeared, the sense of anticipation in the room was tangible. As Charlie, Richard, Brit, Paul and Brandon took to the stage they were greeted with a roar that must have been heard down the street. Charlie lifted his guitar to show the words “Hey y’all” printed on the back as they launched into Leave a Scar and had the capacity crowd eating out of their hands for the next two hours. The set list featured most of new album The Whippoorwill along with fan favourites from previous albums. Pretty Little Lie and One Horse Town were standouts, as was Sleeping Dogs. Shakin’ Hands with the Holy Ghost is getting a lot of radio play at the moment and was a real highlight, as the whole crowd sang along at the top of their voices, including this reviewer, who had no voice the next day! Title track The Whippoorwill was a moment it was a privilege to share, as the crowd lent their voices to Charlie’s, and became almost choral.
Charlie introduced the rest of the band as Brothers, as they always refer to each other. Brother Paul Jackson spent the whole gig with a look of incredulity on his face. Blackberry Smoke haven’t played Glasgow before, so it was a step into the unknown, and he looked like he couldn’t quite believe his luck. Every song was received with whoops and hollers from an adoring crowd of Brothers and Sisters, who during the wait for the encore got louder and louder, demanding a return to the stage, stamping feet, clapping hands and refusing to be denied. They weren’t disappointed. After the gig I spoke to fellow fans who were full of praise. They said the band were slick, class, effortless. They were perfectly rehearsed without ever seeming to be going through the motions. I was lucky enough to bump into Charlie and Brit leaving the venue, and so the final review of the night goes to Charlie. “It was beautiful.” Come back soon Brothers.