Robert in Lockdown – 1.7.21

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You wait a year and a half for a gig, go to bed the night before like a child at Christmas, then wake up to hear the wind howling down the street and the rain pelting against your bedroom window.

What can be more Scottish than that? Well, perhaps going out of your first international tournament in 23 years having only scored one goal… but the less said about that the better.

The rain belted down all day last Thursday but it certainly did not dampen the spirits of the over 1,500 revellers – many of whom had travelled from various parts of Scotland for their first taste of live music in what feels like an age.

All seated at tables, two metres apart, the energy from the crowd manifested itself in actions like brollies being held aloft and moved up and down – rather than dancing or jumping around. This new kind of energy did not go unnoticed by anyone on stage.

Kinnaris Quintet and Breabach both came offstage totally thrilled and also quite emotional after playing for their first live audience in so long. I felt similarly emotional.

Despite the rain coming lashing in between the stage roof and the lighting truss (and the front two metres of the stage subsequently resembling the Clyde), we managed to stay relatively dry. My guitar pedals were covered in a see-through plastic bag in order that I didn’t electrocute myself!

A few years ago, a gig in these conditions would have been a pretty miserable experience. I’ve played a few of them in my time. But such was the excitement of audience, artists, and stage crew, just to be back doing what we all love, the whole night was full of nothing but joy.

As for Tide Lines, it was our first chance to play the material from our latest album live – despite the fact it was released as long ago as last May. It was lovely to hear people singing along with the new songs and being able to thank them in person for their support.

We now await nervously to see what the coming months will bring in terms of lifting of restrictions, but no matter what happens, I don’t think many of us will forget the feeling of hearing a live crowd cheer after many long months.

On an entirely different note, congratulations are in order in this week’s column to Anda Campbell from Bunessan who was honoured last weekend (alongside Peter Bruce and Malcolm Ross) by the National Association of Accordion and Fiddle Clubs at their annual Honours Celebration which was held virtually this year.

There is a fantastic interview with Anda and Iain Cathcart still up on Facebook as part of the event which is well worth watching. Both men are sitting in Anda’s conservatory overlooking the beautiful Bunessan Bay. Knowing that conservatory as I do, I would hazard a guess there were a few drams enjoyed after that interview – and deservedly so after a life time of dedication to Scottish Dance Music.