First gigs and the tonic that was Tidelines

Gigs – most specifically, ‘your first gig’ and the Tidelines show in the Lanntair last night – are the subject of this week’s blether.

I took Michael, my oldest, to it. Both my boys are big Tidelines fans actually. They know the songs really well and I had been hearing Michael sing ‘Walking on the Waves’ long before I had ever heard of Tidelines. For long enough, I thought it was a song he had been learning in school – so I wasn’t particularly on the button with that.

When I saw the band were coming to Stornoway, I had hoped to get four tickets so that we could all go because, even though James is only four, I thought he would be keen too. But in the end, I was only able to get two tickets and I had to take Michael.

It was his first gig. And being able to take him to it made for a very special mummy moment. These are formative experiences, aren’t they? The sort of thing that you always remember.

I remember my first gig very well. It was the famous Runrig night in the airport hanger, when I was 15 or 16. It was a long time ago now but I still remember it vividly.

I remember the power of the music, the drums specifically, the red flags – and just the sheer passion of it. I remember feeling like my heart might actually burst.

There is such a joy in live music and, when it is a band you love, there’s nothing like it. In fact, lately I’ve been wondering if music might be the art form that reigns supreme above all others, when it comes down to eliciting an emotional response.

It certainly does in me and if I could trade whatever ability I have with words for the ability to make really good music… I think I would make that trade.

It’s great to see that love of music grow in your children, too, and to be able to share it.


It was Michael’s school concert – he’s in GM3 at Stornoway Primary – a couple of weeks ago and their show included a lot of songs.

One of their ‘numbers’ was a Gaelic version of Sing by Take That. It was extremely well done and pulled hard at my heart strings. To see dozens of them up there, singing their wee hearts out, was just the cutest thing. It didn’t hurt that it’s also, undeniably, a very musical song.

I confessed to Michael later that it brought a tear to my eye. “Me too,” he admitted bashfully, talking about their practice sessions.

“Why do you think that is?” I asked him. I was hoping that his young soul would have access to some part of the mind that could break through our adult guard and put his finger on whatever it is about the power of music.

He had something. “It kills you!” he enthused. “Because you would die if you didn’t hear it!”

So I suppose that takes us to life affirming.

As gig day got closer and closer, the two of had started to get excited. Three sleeps to go, two sleeps to go, that kind of thing…

Okay, so Tidelines are not everybody’s cup of tea – him indoors, a prog rock fan, wasn’t desperate to come with us – but I think they are grand. Eminently listening and enjoyable. Particularly when they throw in the pipes and a Gaelic song (I’m a teuchter, what can I say…).

And to the younger generation, Tidelines seem to be stepping into Runrig’s shoes a little, in terms of the following. The amount of young girls who were there last night! They knew the words too; they weren’t just there to scream at Robert Robertson – although he definitely has that heartthrob singer thing going on and I do like the way he rolls his Rs…

Tidelines, if you don’t know them, have been described as having a pop/rock/folk mix in their sound and are noted for their “impassioned lyrics and traditional folk sound”. Generally speaking, I’d agree with that and, though we had a to wait a while for them to come on last night, it was worth it.


They began with The Young and the Restless and didn’t miss a beat throughout. My own highlights included Fortunes of the Fearless, Co-Thràth and Far Side of the World, which they finished with, as I’d expected. It was joyous, it was straight up, and it was good for the spirits.

Michael insisted we buy ‘merch’ afterwards so we picked up the ‘Dreams We Never Lost’ CD, even though we’ve been listening to it for long enough on iTunes.

It had to go straight on, in the car on the way home. As we live in Stornoway it wasn’t a long drive so we sat in the dark outside the house listening for a wee while – or rather, Michael listened and sang along, while I listened to him and smiled.

We agreed that, out of all their songs, Since I Left This Town was probably our favourite.

Thanks to Tidelines and my wee music fan, the cares of the week had melted away.

So get up, get up, you’re standing on solid ground…


Comments 1

  1. They really are very good and I’m pleased you enjoyed your first gig Michael. Music is good for the soul and that is why I encouraged your mum to learn to play the flute and your uncle to learn to play the pipes.
    Music brings life to a home and I always want to dance to the music even when I’m at home alone. xxx

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