Never has the retirement of some fat, sweaty scotsmen meant so much…
Last night was Arab Strap’s final performance, at the ABC in Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow. Due to some rather awkward mishaps with transport, which I am entirely at fault for, we nearly didn’t make it.
We arrived towards the tail end of Don’t Ask Me To Dance, which was a shame as it sounded really good. I would like to have heard it from the beginning. I don’t think we missed much, though: when the song finished Aidan Moffat welcomed everyone to their “retirement party”. So we can’t have missed more than a couple of songs.
I can confirm, as the rumour mill has suggested, that they have been playing First Big Weekend and did so again last night. They released balloons onto the crowd at the line “…and then we went down the Arches” (which was changed to “the ABC”).
There was a fair amount of older stuff, and songs I didn’t recognise. There are a couple of albums in the middle of their repertoire that I don’t think I’ve even heard. It was all great though. Particularly New Birds (often a stand-out) and Packs of Three, which Moffat dedicated to his mum. (Read the lyrics if you don’t see the humour in that one.)
They kinda did (If There’s) No Hope For Us but without the vocal talents of Nicola MacLeod in the original (who I’d assumed was Jenny Reeve, oops) it didn’t have the emotional impact it could have. There’s No Ending was ironically as uplifting and joyous as it should have been, despite the ending it was celebrating.
They closed with a beautiful acoustic rendition of The Shy Retirer. They sold a 3-track with acoustic recordings of that, Pro-(Your)Life and Serenade at the merchandise stall.
Sad to see them go. I suppose I’ll start looking into their solo careers now…