GUN Live at the Barrowlands Glasgow
I’ve sat on this review a day or so longer than normal because I was struggling to think of the best way to describe GUN‘s second gig of the year at the Barrowlands. Sounds strange I know, because reviewing gigs is a pretty straightforward process. I get my accreditation confirmed in advance, then turn up at the venue, photograph the band in action and write about what I thought of the show. Simples.
However, when I woke on Friday morning, I had a feeling in my bones that this gig wasn’t gonna turn out as expected. So when Team decibelROGUE boarded the train to Glasgow and I received a text from a mate who had managed to lose his tickets for the show so wouldn’t be going, I thought to myself “here we go…”
That nagging feeling ate away at me until we were inside the legendary Barrowland Ballroom itself. And sure enough, when we rocked up to the Box Office we discovered that decibelROGUE didn’t have a photopass for the gig. AAAARRRRGH!!! So while we could cover the show itself, I couldn’t get access to the photopit to photograph the band in action for you. What the hell though, we’d stand at the back of the venue with a couple of beers and enjoy the show from there instead.
If I was able to hand-pick one band and one venue for a gig to round off any year in style it would be GUN playing at The Barrowlands. Since exploding onto the world stage in the early nineties, GUN have consistently been regarded as being (hiatus aside) one of the very best live rock bands around. And The Barrowlands is quite simply one of the best, most atmospheric music venues there is. Perfect match.
So after being warmed up by the excellent King King, the audience and decibelROGUE were ready to rock. And GUN duly obliged, because they came absolutely flying out the traps with ‘Borrowed Time’, ‘Don’t Say it’s Over’ and ‘Better Days’. They got the old venue absolutely bouncing, and Dante in particular was sounding terrific. Initial impressions were that this was gonna turn out to be another legendary show. But before they launched into their forth song of the evening ‘Something to Believe In’, Dante announced that the gig was very nearly cancelled at the last minute. He wasn’t well, and the show only went ahead after he got a Vitamin B12 injection from his doctor. Cue some gasps from the audience and some frantic Googling to try to work out what he might be suffering from, and one word lept out at me from the search results: Fatigue.
To be honest though, for much of the evening you’d never have guessed that he was unwell, because the show continued in customary whirlwind style. ‘Break The Silence’ and ‘Money (Everybody Loves Her)’ in particular were superb. However the further we got into the gig and despite his best efforts, Dante started to flag. By the time we reached signature song ‘Word Up’ he was like an exhausted boxer hanging onto his opponent for dear life, just to reach the end of the round. I began to wonder whether it might’ve been better for the band to have canceled the gig after all, then reconvene when Dante was fighting fit. There’s no right or wrong answer to that one, because as an artist you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. At the end of the day though, GUN are made of stern stuff and they didn’t want to let their fans down. And their fans love them for it.
Dante made it through the rest of the setlist to the end of the show and – being honest – I was surprised that the band came back onstage for an encore. After they closed the evening out with ‘Shame on You’, the audience gave GUN one final roar of appreciation, before heading out into the night. And it has to be said that despite Dantes illness, everyone in the audience around me seemed to go home happy enough.
Sure, this may not have been as good a gig as the one they had here back in March, but under the circumstances it was still a very good gig indeed. Fingers crossed Dante is back to full fitness again very soon and we can all look forward to some more brilliant live shows in the new year.
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