Live Review
Celtic Connections 2000
Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

"Sunday Herald" Jan 2000

"Inspired by Celtic Fire"

Archie Fisher, Brian McNeill, Dick Gaughan, Tom Paxton, Eric Bogle

"Whatever happened to the angry young men I once knew?" Archie Fisher pondered aloud with affectionate irony after Brian McNeill and Dick Gaughan had stripped the audience bare with No Gods and Precious Few Heroes, one of a cluster of rabble-rousing Socialist anthems the pair contributed to the closing concert of Celtic Connections.

It summed up the diversity among the five performers, even though they all shared a stage for the second half and enjoyed a clear empathy. The lilting mournfulness of Fisher was in stark contrast to the bite which McNeill and Gaughan brought to the proceedings, while Tom Paxton and Eric Bogle leavened the evening with some humorous nonsense. Not that they were without a serious side. Bogle announced his arrival with Singing the Spirit Home, a moving tribute to a nameless black African about to be executed.

Perhaps the artists would have been more at home in a traditional small, smokey venue but the marvellous acoustics certainly did justice to the splendour of Gaughan's extraordinary voice and guitar playing. Rarely indeed do five such diverse talents share a stage; still more rarely would such an experiment produce as uplifting an experience as it did on the night.

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