This performance took place during the Glasgow Commonwealth Games; the Glasgow Green live zone on August 2nd was given over to Chemical Underground Records, an organisation with an impeccable pedigree of finding the most interesting and eccentric acts in Scotland (and beyond) and putting out their music to the unsuspecting general public. This event was funded by what Betty understands to be “public” money, so hard-working families in Cameron’s Britain could be heartened to enjoy this free gig in the heart of Glasgae, provided they could get through security. The “no neds, no t%%%%orists” (I’m no fool, Mr Obama, BM knows you are monitoring my every move and change of knickers, you old pervert) policy seemed to have worked as by 12.45pm (as the rain, and Sydney, was just starting), not that many punters were actually on the field.
The general public missed a treat though. Betty elbowed, no sashayed, you bitches, through (and the heels were killing me on the grass, not the woman I once was) the fairly meagre crowd (but they were the country music diehards, BM and others were given the evil eye for any hilarity, you don’t disrespect Mr Devine) to get right to the front. The stage (used for some previous epic gigs that week including King Creosote)was perfect for an act of this magnitude, and first on stage was SD’s backing band, some as old as he is, some young team (in their 40s). As the rain started pouring down the build-up began, Holst’s ‘Planet Suite’ ‘Mars’ extract, better known as the theme from ‘2001 – A Space Odyssey’ and Mastermind you maggots, see Betty does know her classicals.
The man himself then finally appeared, and launched into 30 mins (no 35, he overran, sound man making the cut-throat gesture (threats and attempted murder anyone?) of his greatest hits. The hardcore Sydney massive seemed to appreciate watching Syd busting some moves in the more up-tempo numbers, some people were drawn further to the stage as if in rapture, no knicker-throwing incidents but Betty understands there was a special security alert so most knickers were removed at security. Now it’s a well known fact that Steak and Kidney has his own Glasgow rhyming slang title and is the butt of cruel rent-a-laugh jokes, so Betty did not come to carp, he’s a fine figure of a man albeit in the twilight years of his life but Betty came here to complete the set (Sean Connery, John Barrowman, Rod Stewart, Graeme Souness, Robert Burns, John Curtice, you know, the lot).
All BM can say is that she got what she came for (a nice chat and a cup of tea, if you must know, years ago it would be “And Reader, I Shagged Him”, but we have matured since then, all still fine fine figures of men, and women etc.)
But back to the set. STD did goad the cynics, saying twice “I could just stand here and sing all day” – he must have had some sense of the ridiculousness of the booking, but at the same time to be unleashed on the general public stirs the very lifeblood of a trooper like El Syd.
There were hysterical scenes when the coordinated dance moves (in wellies and rain-capes, but more of capes later, in further BM on the Green commentary) kicked off during ‘Sweet Caroline’ and the other medleys, SD has a habit of merging one thing into another. The crowd were moist (and yes readers, Betty was too, but more to do with the precipitation, you perverts) in anticipation for the Buckfast anthem ‘Tiny Bubbles’ (in my wine – may have written during the Sodastream era which could explain a lot).
The finishing medley Betty thinks (it was a bit of blur of driving rain and cagoules) included ‘Loch Lomond’, this was not a good idea, showed the limitations of Syd’s range, sorry to say – a consummate showman in a lovely white slacks and white shoes combo, SD is a living embodiment of Scottish showbiz royalty, respect due to Chem for booking him but can’t think of any other Chem-associated acts (even Aidan Moffat) who have indulged in such extended bum-wiggling onstage (Kylie he was not), the pensioners loved it, but despite the tight security, there was a wee thought in the back of Betty’s mind.
Many artists have died onstage, both literally and metaphorically – the distance from the Gorbals high flats (with no security) to the Green is less than 1km, a decent shot from a motivated ned or Scottish Commonwealth Games Shooting Team member could have ended all this quite easily.
Only joking, of course.