08 September 2019 (gig)
Stereophonics followers will believe the chart-topping outfit's set for a new lease of life after Kelly Jones' one-off Scottish show.
The gravel-voiced frontman recently admitted he contemplated quitting the Welsh band after experiencing burn-out near the end of their world tour last year, but he showed at the sold-out opening concert on his latest solo outing that his mojo's well and truly returned.
The build-up to the first night of the final leg of his Don't Let The Devil Take Another Day sojourn wasn't trouble-free, as Jones' multi-talented sidekick Gavin Fitzjohn was unexpectedly absent prompting a rejigged set.
However, the guitarist and his remaining bandmates — force of nature Simple Minds percussionist Cherisse Osei and Fiona Brice (violin / piano) — more than compensated with a stunning 135-minute performance.
Stereophonics hit Hurry Up And Wait nestled neatly beside obscure solo tracks Suzy and Katie early on, with Jones and Osei generating a cavernous sound on the latter. By contrast, the yearning I Wanna Get Lost With You was accompanied by a reverential hush in the all-seated venue.
Jones' playful antics between songs created a feelgood vibe, with his anecdotes including a boyhood memory of a family holiday in Blackpool and being left in the care of "an old fella called Fred from Dundee" while his parents went to a stand-up comedy show.
"On their return they found me sitting in the bar with Fred, and he had taught me how to roll my own cigarettes," he laughed. "That's my Dundee story."
The 45-year-old talked warmly about his deceased ex-bandmate and friend Stuart Cable, with the drummer's shadow looming large as he sat at the piano for the poignant I Stopped To Fill My Car up and Before Anyone Knew Our Name.
A yarn about touring with David Bowie segued into an acoustic section boasting a rare outing for 2001 track Caravan Outing, before guitarist Dwight Baker from support band The Wind And The Wave joined in on a lusty world premiere of new 'Phonics song Fly Like An Eagle.
The dynamism of Jones' back catalogue was perhaps no better illustrated than by impressive early works Local Boy In The Photograph and Billy Daveys Daughter, given a fresh sheen thanks to Brice's intuitive bowing.
As adept at tender balladry as rock anthems, Jones mustered the troops for a blistering take on Stevie Nicks' Stop Dragging My Heart Around, paving the way for a memorable finale.
Spine-tingling crowd-pleasers Just Looking, Maybe Tomorrow and Dakota confirmed to both diehard fans and casual observers that they'd just witnessed something very special indeed.