I’m a longtime Dexys admirer. All four albums are firm favourites. The debut is one of the most vital and powerful albums ever; the Celtic-soul of the second is wonderful; ‘Don’t Stand Me Down’ is full of beauty and strength; and - after a wait of almost thirty years - ‘One Day I’m Going To Soar’ is probably my favourite album of 2012, and fits right in with the consistent quality of the Dexys’ back catalogue.
Kevin Rowland is one of the most honest and brave performers out there. He puts it all out in the open - emotions, mistakes, and his deepest thoughts and insecurities. I sometimes marvel that someone like Kevin managed to achieve such mass appeal. A packed Brighton Dome demonstrates how much he still means to the audience that have stuck with him.
Despite a strong affection for Kevin Rowland and Dexys, this was the first time I’d seen him live. I knew Dexys were going to play the new album in its entirety, followed by a few tunes from the back catalogue. I also expected some theatrics too. The show is very theatrical. Each song has one or two props, with Kevin Rowland and Peter Williams acting out some of the song narratives. The theatrics adds a level of artifice that I found distracting. I’d rather just hear the tunes.
I really enjoyed the evening but did not feel as involved as I’d hoped. Perhaps my expectations were too high. I thought it was going to be amazing and, whilst it was good, it didn’t hit the heights I’d hoped. The concert was all seated. Something I loathe. Generally I just don’t go to gigs that are seated but I made an exception for Dexys. This show reaffirmed my firm belief that seats should be banned when any vaguely danceable music is being played live. Much of the set was supremely danceable but I felt unable to get up as all around me people stayed resolutely seated.
A word on the band. Trombonist, and long-term band member, Big Jim Paterson was wonderful and is a total legend. The fiddle player, whose name I don’t know, was brilliant too. It was also great to see Mick Talbot back on stage. On occasion that band felt too slick though - a bit like a cruise ship band. Not something I’d have ever imagined beforehand. It was really apparent on Tell Me When My Light Turns Green - the drumming, in particular, was really pedestrian.
Personally I’d rather have heard a bit more from the back catalogue rather than a 10 minute Eileen and protracted dialogues between Kev and Pete. Ah well, you can’t have it all. So, a rock solid 7/10, a good night, but I can’t help feeling it could, and should, have been a 10.