IT’S hard to believe that it’s been 35 years since Scotland’s Big Country unleashed their Celtic fired brand of rock on an unsuspecting public with the release of their album The Crossing, which smashed into the UK album charts at number three spawning three top ten singles in the process.

Over the following years that has seen a rollercoaster of exhilarating highs and crushing lows, culminating with the tragic loss of founder member Stuart Adamson in 2001 when it looked as though the band was finished for good.

Guitarist Bruce Watson and legendary drummer Mark Brzezicki however, together with bassist Tony Butler brought the band back in 2007 for a tour to mark their 25th anniversary and have flourished ever since but has seen Butler retire and Alarm vocalist Mike Peters come and go.

Of course, for many, it’s always a concern when the original singer is no longer with a band, but any worries over current vocalist Simon Hough were rapidly dispelled within seconds of 1000 Stars. Hough, managing to capture the spirit and intensity of Adamson while stamping his own personality onto the song with a rich, expressive and passionate performance. Extremely impressive.

Of course, guitarist Bruce Watson was a whirlwind of energy on stage, never still for a moment, looking so enthusiastic as he tore into Look Away and River of Hope while duelling with son Jamie on guitar all while Brzezicki laid down the foundations and intricate beats that are such an integral part of the Big Country sound.

As befitting the 35th anniversary of The Crossing, it was played in its entirety. Not, however, in its original running order but well-paced throughout the set and interjected with songs from across their catalogue including Peace In Our Time’s King of Emotion and Wonderland, their single that linked The Crossing with its follow up, Steeltown.

Three of The Crossing’s biggest hitters were saved for the closing stretch and Chance was, as it always is, a wonderful experience live where band and fans really come together.

Most bands would sell their grannies for one song that could lift the roof or steal the show at a festival. Big Country have two, Fields of Fire and In A Big Country which induce a mini riot of grown men to start jumping in a mad frenzy while doing the Highland fling with their new best friends. It’s quite a sight to see and moments that live shows are made for.

Thirty-five years on and despite the knock backs, Big Country are back, firing on all cylinders and with a tour just announced for next year there’ll undoubtedly be a fair few in the packed crowd booking their tickets already.

Mick Burgess