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Review: Cambridge welcomes back The Proclaimers





The Proclaimers - identical twins Craig and Charlie Reid from Scotland - were in fine voice as they performed in front of a sold-out crowd at the Cambridge Corn Exchange on Saturday, November 5, the first time they had played the venue since 2018.

The Proclaimers live at Cambridge Corn Exchange on Saturday, November 5, 2022. Picture: Maria Escobedo
The Proclaimers live at Cambridge Corn Exchange on Saturday, November 5, 2022. Picture: Maria Escobedo

Normally, if I go to see legendary acts with more than 30 years of hits in their repertoire, it’s the classics from yesteryear that I’m most eagerly anticipating. However, I very much enjoyed the brothers’ latest album, Dentures Out, and so enthusiastically welcomed the delightfully upbeat title track (about Britain’s apparent obsession with nostalgia) which kicked off the proceedings.

The energetic start continued with the catchy Over and Done With, and then it was a pleasant surprise to hear There’s a Touch from their underrated 2001 album Persevere, which I believe I have on CD somewhere... One of my favourite tracks on the new album is Things As They Are and I was pleased to hear it come next.

Craig (the one without the guitar) announced that he and his brother were “delighted to be back in Cambridge” and added: “This song is for anyone who is, or who is about to get, married.” Cue the cheers as the twins and their four-piece band launched into the tuneful sing-along Let’s Get Married.

It was the first song of the evening to get people - though by no means everybody - up and out of their seats, swaying and dancing along to this bona-fide classic. Another winning number was Rainbows and Happy Regrets, the only tune to be played from their 2015 album, Let’s Hear It for the Dogs.

The Proclaimers live at Cambridge Corn Exchange on Saturday, November 5, 2022. Picture: Maria Escobedo
The Proclaimers live at Cambridge Corn Exchange on Saturday, November 5, 2022. Picture: Maria Escobedo

Dressed all in black and never ones to engage in lengthy speeches or tirades, Craig and Charlie seemed to prefer to let their music do the talking - and what amazing music they have given us these last 35 years. It’s very true that there’s so much more to them than just I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) and Letter from America, and this was once again proved with Drop Dead Destiny (another great song from Dentures Out) and Cap in Hand, their ‘Scottish independence’ song.

Ahead of the sublime Letter from America - probably my favourite Proclaimers tune - Charlie observed that “some of you wouldn’t have been born when this song came out.” It is true that the duo do have a number of younger fans, thanks in part to the success of the 2013 film which makes stunning use of their music, Sunshine on Leith. Letter from America also marked the first time everyone seated (in chairs) on the floor was up and out of their seat.

Craig revealed that Dave Eringa, who produced the pair’s last three albums, was in attendance. “This is the last song we’re going to do tonight produced by him,” he said right before the title track from the band’s 2018 LP, Angry Cyclist. I breathed a sigh of relief after the phrase “produced by him”, fearing momentarily that this fun gig was about to come to an end!

Two beautiful slower numbers followed each other in succession: Misty Blue and the emotive Hibernian football anthem, Sunshine on Leith, which came complete with some gorgeous pedal steel guitar. The main set concluded with two of the twins’ best-known uptempo songs: I’m on My Way (memorably used in Shrek) and the inevitable I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles). Much singing along and movement ensued.

[Read more: Craig Reid of The Proclaimers: ‘Britain’s decline seems to be accelerating...’]

The Proclaimers live at Cambridge Corn Exchange on Saturday, November 5, 2022. Picture: Maria Escobedo
The Proclaimers live at Cambridge Corn Exchange on Saturday, November 5, 2022. Picture: Maria Escobedo

The band came back out for an encore, which consisted of the soaring Make My Heart Fly and the clappy The Joyful Kilmarnock Blues. Although The Proclaimers’ latest album rails against nostalgia, there’s no denying that while they keep pushing forward and producing outstanding music, many of their songs also evoke a warm sense of nostalgia that makes seeing them live an absolute joy.

For more on The Proclaimers, visit proclaimers.co.uk.



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