Love And Money
Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
Karen Miller reports
Love and Money’s first album All You Need Is… was released in 1986 and, as a devoted Duran Duran fan, my interest was immediately piqued when I discovered their single Candybar Express had been produced by Andy Taylor. I bought that album on vinyl on its release, and its follow-up Strange Kind of Love, and loved them both. But, being relatively young at the time, I never managed to see the band, or any of their contemporaries (The Big Dish, Hipsway, etc) live.
So imagine my delight when I heard about the reunion gig at this year’s Celtic Connections Festival. To be honest, I generally avoid reunion gigs – the music never sounds quite as good as it did, band members have grown old (as have I), but last night I made an exception and I’m very glad I did.
James Grant and the rest of the band (co-founder Paul McGeechan, former members Douglas MacIntyre and Gordon Wilson, plus Ewen Vernal on bass, Fraser Spiers on harmonica and Monica Queen providing harmony vocals) came on stage to the sounds of Dusty Springfield’s The Look of Love. James, looking very dapper, stood facing the capacity crowd and raised his hands towards the sky, and the audience went wild.
Since the demise of Love and Money James Grant has been releasing solo records, but has struggled to attract decent-sized audiences at live shows, something he made reference to early in the gig when he talked about the "50 people who come and see me solo…" I did feel for him. It must have been both demoralising and exhilarating to see the number of people who turned out last night to see Love and Money.
During the evening the band performed their second and third albums in their entirety, beginning with Dogs in the Traffic the third album. I’m not so familiar with that one but it was great to hear both Whisky Dreams and Winter again.
I really enjoyed the first part, but the second half was even better. The band returned to the stage to The Beatles’ All You Need is Love (appropriately enough) to perform songs from Strange Kind of Love. This 1988 album was recorded in New York with Steely Dan producer Gary Katz and was a classic melodic pop album. I loved it – songs such as Jocelyn Square, Strange Kind of Love, Hallelujah Man and, my personal favourite, Walk The Last Mile, which last night James dedicated to former bass player Bobby Paterson who passed away a couple of years ago.
As the evening progressed James relaxed. There was a bit of banter with the audience, (although I have no idea what anyone actually said) and although James had said early on that the night was all about the music, he entertained with some stories from the past, including asking to meet Prince who was recording in the adjoining studio in LA, only to be told “Prince says no” and being thrown off the Tina Turner tour.
Towards the end, James invited Skin, formerly of Hipsway (another Scottish eighties band) onto the stage for a performance of Up Escalator from the All You Need Is… album and they returned to that album again for the encore – the song which began my love affair with the band 25 years ago – Candybar Express. James sounded genuinely touched and moved as he thanked the audience for coming and said he’d had a great time. I can only hope this experience might persuade the band to do it all again as this will definitely go down as one of my 2011 Celtic Connections highlights.