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Big Country – Live at Queens Hall – Nuneaton

Bruce on lead guitar
Bruce Watson
There is always a small amount of nervousness when you go to see a band that you haven’t seen for over 39 years. Yes, 39 years. In fact it could be longer, I will have to check my dates. Either way, that was the way I felt when I went to watch Big Country at the Queens Hall in Nuneaton on the 8th of December.
First of all, let me congratulate the venue on the fact that even from the back of the room, the sound is brilliant. I haven’t been to the Queens Hall since they upgraded their stage and sound system and you can tell they have really out some time into it. They’ve also upgraded the lighting rig too, which really added to the whole experience.
Simon with Gil Allan on bass guitar
The original support band had to pull out due to illness, but the amazing band 3 Mile Island filled in and really warmed up the crowd. Congrats to them for being able to fill the gap at short notice. It wasn’t long however before we were introduced to the main event of the evening as Big Country walking in to cheers from the waiting crowd.
Mark Brzezicki on drums
Personally I didn’t know what to expect as the band line up has changed quite significantly since the last time I saw them, (actually 40 years ago, not 39), at the NEC. Sadly, their original front man and singer Stuart Adamson passed away in 2001, leaving the band without a lead singer. For the 25th anniversary tour, Tony Butler took over the vocal role with original band members Bruce Watson and Mark Brzezicki remaining in their previous roles. However, after the anniversary tour the line-up changed again when Mike Peters, (of The Alarm) and Jamie Watson, (Bruce’s son), joined the band.
Jamie and father Bruce Watson
Jump to the present and the band has again changed its line-up. Current members are, Simon Hough on lead vocals and additional guitar, Gil Allan on bass and backing vocals, Bruce Watson on guitar and vocals, Mark Brzezicki on drums and Jamie Watson on rhythm guitar and backing vocals.
Simon Hough on lead vocals
So, should I have been worried about how they would perform? No, not a bit. It was like all the years had disappeared and I was standing back in the 80’s. Polished, refined and flawless vocals – despite Simon having a throat problem, great guitar sounds – perfectly emulating the bagpipes when needed, solid drum and tight bass. If anything, time and a change of membership have made this band even better.
Kicking off with 1000 Stars, they fired up the audience. This was followed by Look Away, which had everyone singing in unison. Then we had Close Action, Lost Patrol, The Storm, Just A Shadow, Ships, Porrohman, Harvest Home and Chance. This was followed by their hit In A Big Country – which had everyone singing in full voice. Finally we had Wonderland and Fields of Fire as the final song before and encore of Inwards.
It’s been a long time since I have been to any concert, but this really was enjoyable and brought back a lot of good memories. If you have a chance to see them, whether you are a Big Country fan or not, I suggest you go. They are great performers and did not disappoint.

All Images Provided by Kevin “The Beard” Hargreave

Louis Turfrey

Writer, Digital Artist, DJ, Musician (allegedly) and Computer / Car / Guitar Nerd

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