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RUNRIG - One Legend  Two Concerts (Live At Rockpalast 1996 & 2001)

RUNRIG - One Legend Two Concerts (Live At Rockpalast 1996 & 2001)
MIG Music MIG90912

Two concerts, featuring the two seminal Runrig line-ups, are presented in a box set of four CDs and two DVDs.

The first concert (CD1 and CD2 / DVD1) dates from February 1996, a matter of months before the departure of Donnie Munro, although there’s no real inkling that change is imminent. Similarly, Peter Wishart is also still in the band at this point – the two departing members exiting to pursue political aspirations, to mixed success. The gig, however, to an appreciative German audience in Duesseldorf (with significant ex-pat Scottish contingent in attendance also, seemingly), is a brilliant display of that era of Runrig at the height of its creative stride. Calum and Rory MacDonald may be the creative heart of the band, but the strength is in the collective group as presented here. Malcolm Jones demonstrates why he is one of the most respected multi-instrumentalists in the band – primarily on guitar, but also showcasing his prowess on the midi pipes and the accordion. He even has a fair stab at using the Ebow, probably the most fiddly of guitar tools, in particular on Day In A Boat.

The second concert, in Cologne, Germany, in December 2001 (CD3 AND CD4 / DVD2) has a different dynamic altogether. Bruce Guthro is now fully immersed in his role as front man, some four years after the departure of Donnie Munro, and positively exudes confidence. In this instance, a festive audience is treated to Jingle Bells, in addition to the usual set – including Marie’s Wedding as an intro to Pride Of The Summer (Beat The Drum). Pete Wishart has been replaced by Brian Hurren on keyboards and is an obvious fit. The concert itself has a much livelier feel than Duesseldorf – not necessarily due to the date or audience, this is a band having a blast and making sure that they share it with their eager fans.

There are some common songs to both gigs, Skye and Loch Lomond to name but two, but both of these were standard fare at Runrig gigs. It still mystifies me why Runrig’s version of the latter was not given a placing in the recent poll of best Scottish recordings. The versions here demonstrate why it is so uplifting and anthemic in their hands.

Ecellent value for those nostalgic for a band that sadly bade us farewell in 2018 – and in two classic line-ups. Two moments in time captured for posterity and a privilege to bear witness to.

www.mig-music.de

Grem Devlin

 

This review appeared in Issue 137 of The Living Tradition magazine