10th April 2020
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Review: Springsteen Sessions give it their all

ST50 springsteen2Guitar-touting rock and roll was just the tonic for Springsteen fans at Mareel on Saturday.

Delighted punters pulled on their dancing shoes and left their wellies at home – shaking off the weather blues from the recent cold snap.

Support from local rockers No Sweat certainly warmed up the crowd with the gravelly vocals of David Nicolson kicking off a great evening of old-school rock music.

Guitarists Neil Scollay and Brian Nicholson, brought plenty of hearty guitar riffs to proceedings and Nicholson’s expert slide guitar playing was a joy to listen to.

With a rumble of drums, The Springsteen Sessions grabbed everyone’s attention as they took to the stage.

Fist pumping their way through Born in the USA, the band soon had the crowd singing along at the top of their lungs.

And while the Glaswegian chatter from lead singer Dougie Robertson punctuated the set list, the delivery of hits was something even “The Boss” would applaud.

Taken on their own merits, The Springsteen Sessions, are clearly a collection of talented musicians.

None more so than saxophonist and guitar player Tom Brogan – who swapped with ease between the two instruments, with equal prowess.

His raspy sax playing provided the soulful sound which has become synonymous with Springsteen and his band.

A quick-fire introduction including Tenth Avenue Freeze-out and Land of Hope and Dreams gave way to the pounding drums of Badlands.

As the gig went on and the beer was flowing, Robertson announced “this one’s for the girls” before beginning the band’s rendition of I’m On Fire – an admirable attempt, but lacking the emotional pull of Springsteen’s original.

The River however, could not be faulted, and as the band stepped it up a gear, so did the audience – with one fan dancing away in delight on a chair.

Robertson beckoned the crowd forward to dance and join in the party, and they happily obliged.

“You guys are brilliant; you’re a better singer than I am. I think my job’s on the line,” he joked.

Whistles, whoops and claps accompanied the band off stage as the crowd shouted for a Springsteen-style encore.

Requests were taken from the audience and the dancing continued as the band played the classics Dancing in the Dark and Glory Days.

While it may not be the real thing, it wasn’t far off.

The quality of the songs alone promised a good night out and The Springsteen Sessions certainly gave it their all.

A trip down memory lane for many, and an enjoyable one at that.

About Adam Guest

Reporter for The Shetland Times. I have also worked as a senior news reporter at The Press and Journal, The Barnsley Chronicle and as a freelance reporter for The Doncaster Free Press. Alongside news reporting I specialise in music and sports journalism. Pork pie lover.

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  1. Elizabeth Morewood

    Such a pity good music etc at Mareel. those folks from the North isles cannot share the experience unless the have a LOT of money. First of all they have to get there , then pay to get in, then leave long before the end to get the last ferry or pay for a night`s stay in town. What pleasure is in that?

    • Wayne Conroy

      That is a bit like saying that its a pity that people staying in Shetland can’t enjoy the nightlife in the likes of Aberdeen or Edinburgh without having enough money to pay for transport to get there and accommodation while there. Surely its just the price you pay when you choose to stay in a remote community?

      • John Tulloch

        No, it isn’t. The people of Shetland don’t pay for council facilities in Aberdeen and it’s SHETLAND Arts Trust, not LERWICK Arts Trust!

        The more facilities that are concentrated in Lerwick, schools, colleges, entertainment, sports facilities, the more people will move there to live. Do you want everybody in Shetland to move to or within easy reach of, Lerwick?

        Or just the young ones?

      • Robert Duncan

        Ms Morewood, is your contention with the ferry provision? Or simply that these things are in Lerwick?

        The former is quite reasonable, the latter is not.

      • Wayne Conroy

        Where else should they have built it then John? They no doubt built it in Lerwick so the majority of the population could have access to it… surely the best option. Would you rather they built it in Yell and it had to be closed through lack of use or not have built it so no-one could have access to such facilities?

        I realise how infuriating it must be when facilities are closing in rural areas and am in disagreement with the councils decisions on the likes of the recent school closures but you have to be realistic… When you stay in a remote community with a limited population there are always going to be drawbacks… To then complain that there is a lack of access to facilities seems kind of silly.

      • John Tulloch

        As things stand, Wayne, I understand your point however it becomes a bit if a self-fulfilling prophecy if we follow on rigidly in the way we’re now doing.

        if we were starting afresh, now, would we have inter-island ferries to the main isles? Or road tunnels?

        If we had road tunnels to the main isles, attendance at Mareel for the isles folk would become more reasonable and you might, also, then consider a more modest facility than Mareel located in the Brae/Delting area which could more readily be attended by people from the isles and the North and West Mainland than for those folk to trail all the way to Lerwick.

        You would then not be putting all your eggs into one basket in Lerwick which would encourage a more healthy distribution of population throughout Shetland than the way we are currently heading.

        If SIC doesn’t change its attitude to country places depopulation will become a major issue because a vast preponderance of employment and amenities will be concentrated on the mainland, mainly, in Lerwick.

        We can still have road tunnels but heads need to come out of the sand at the Town Hall, first.

  2. John Tulloch

    Never mind, Elizabeth, once they close the schools and bring all the kids to Lerwick, at least, they’ll be able to go!

    Once the parents hear how good it is they’ll likely move to Lerwick, too, an’ SIC’ll shurly be plaesed dan!

  3. Dougie Robertson

    Hello To The Good People of Shetland,
    Dougie Robertson here from The Springsteen Session. We recently had the pleasure of coming to your Island and performing in The Mareel. Would like to take the opportunity to thank you all for making us feel real welcome and that we thouroughly enjoyed our time in Lerwick. A big thank you to all at the Shetland Times in particular to Adam Guest for the kind review of our show on 7th Dec 2013. Also to The Mareel and Shetland Artsfor all their efforts and last but not least, to Davie Gardener for looking after us and making our stay one to remember. We look forward to seeing you all again and having another Springsteen Style Party with you all.

    Dougie Robertson

  4. Stuart Hannay

    Mr Duncan, I’m sure Elizabeth Morewood is able to answer your question herself but for my part I think the issues of the timing of the ferries and the location of Mareel are inextricably linked. If you live in the North Isles It is now impossible to attend most cultural events in Lerwick and not miss the end of them since they cut out the later ferries.


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