The Proclaimers: How Craig and Charlie wowed the Alhambra in homecoming gig

The Proclaimers on stage at the Alhambra
The Proclaimers on stage at the Alhambra

Thirty years ago, Craig and Charlie Reid stepped on to the stage backed by a band for the very first time.

Fittingly, for two lads from Fife, it happened at a packed Lochgelly Theatre, and the journey that began that wonderful night continues to this day.

Fast forward to another full house and an air of expectation buzzed around the Alhambra Theatre in Dunfermline for their return to the Kingdom.

And they didn’t disappoint with a set that dug deep into their often under-rated back catalogue, and contained many memorable moments.

And it was all about the music. No great stage show, limited chat on stage - just an hour and a half of perfectly crafted songs from the twins.

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They started with Angry Cyclist, the title track from their 20128 album, and wrapped with a rollicking celebratory Joyful Kilmarnock Blues from their 1987 debut album; bookends of a career that has seen them deliver several bona fide classics that have struck a chord with the nation’s conscience.

The “Bathgate no more” roll call of Scotland’s lost industrial heartlands still bristles with anger rather than melancholy 30 years on. It could easily be considered their finest moment - in their early days, it was, but then they came up with 500 Miles, a simple, joyful song that make the spirits soar every single time you hear it.

But, for me, their masterpiece remains Sunshine On Leith - uplifting and heartbreaking in equal measure, and, as with Letter From America and 500 Miles, the crowd embrace it at full throttle,creating a mass choir to send it soaring to the skies.

But there were other gems too; a jubilant Let’s Get Married, a belting Life With You, and then the very opposite emotion, the angry, hurting of What Makes You Cry, before a reminder of just how powerfully Cap In Hand, written in 1988, still speaks for the Scotland of 2018.

Three decades on from that Lochgelly gig, The Proclaimers are better than ever.

The Alhambra has hosted many special nights. This was most definitely one of them.

>> Tip of the hat to support act, Jack Lukeman who delivered a fabulous solo set. He is definitely worth catching in a more intimate setting - check out his gig at the Voodoo Rooms in Edinburgh on March 10.