Kings of the road

By Ruth Davenport

Older, wiser, and better with age. Like smoked salmon, cured meat or a fine red wine, the Proclaimers still put on a hell of a show.

On Aug. 2, twins Charlie and Craig Reid performed to a crowd of concert-goers with clearly discriminating taste. Walking on with little fanfare or fuss, the Proclaimers proceeded to make the most of the smaller audience by playing a semi-formal, vibrant set of new tracks and old favourites.

Playing hits ranging from the dreamy, melodious "Sunshine on Leith," from the 1988 album of the same name, to the lead single "There’s a Touch," off the latest album Persevere, the Proclaimers demonstrated absolute musicianship. More than a few kilts swirled through the crowd and stamped along with quirky lyrics inspired by everything from Craig Reid’s daughters to the tried-and-true theme of failed romance.

The Proclaimers employed harmonies simply but effectively, which lent a CD quality to their live performance. One Gauntlet reporter’s night was made with the dedication of "Cap in Hand," and the entire audience’s night was made when the duo launched into a sterling rendition of the 1994 track of Benny & Joon fame, "I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)."

After leaving the stage with as little fanfare as they had entered, the Proclaimers returned to perform, as an encore number, Roger Miller’s perennial ’60s hit "King of the Road."

Leaving a dusty, breathless audience to collect themselves, the Proclaimers toddled offstage to do their own collecting and returned to sign autographs on the main floor of the Ballroom.

True to form, the twins provided not only T-shirts and albums for autographs, but also thong panties with the word ‘Persevere’ coyly, if not perfectly, displayed on the front.

Older, wiser, and better. The Proclaimers displayed a developed talent tempered with the kind of sardonic humour that comes only from weathering life experience. Some may call the Proclaimers washed-up has-beens; the crowd who attended the show knows better.