Reading Hexagon

Big Country

In April 1986, one of the best live music television shows of that time ‘The Old Grey Whistle Test’ recorded Big Country live from the Reading Hexagon as the band were part way through the “Seer Tour”, this broadcast came at the height of the band’s popularity and the recording acts as a reminder of how great this band were when fronted by the late great Stuart Adamson.

Fast forward to 2012 and Big Country are once again back at the Hexagon to celebrate the 30 year anniversary of the bands debut album “The Crossing”, stepping in to Adamson’s shoes is The Alarm’s Mike Peters who since joining the reformed band back at the start of 2011 has filled the role with respect and sincerity.

Hexagon: Gun
Gun: 010203

Tonight’s support act are Scottish band “Gun” who themselves has a good deal of success in the 90’s, the band have returned after a hiatus with some new material and the promise of a new album in the future. The band do their best to warm up the crowd, there are pockets of die hard fans jumping around, but they sadly fail to reach our to the vast majority who seem to just stand their and clap politely.  The band perform a new song “Last Train To Central” which is available to download free from the band’s website as a initial taster for what is due in the future. The songs from the band’s best remembered album “Swagger”, set opener “Don’t Say It’s Over”, and their version of Cameo’s classic “Word Up” still sound fresh giving the audience a pleasant trip down memory lane.

As the lights go down and the intro music starts to “Angle Park” the atmosphere changes to one of real excitement, as the band take to the stage, the excited crowd’s arms go up in air  clapping  along to the opening number. Mike Peters dashes around the stage with the energy of someone half his age, delivering to the audience just what they want, giving the 3 original members of Big Country the chance to recreate these classic tracks from “The Crossing” once again. Tonight the band are performing in front of a classic Scottish back drop with a great light show which changes to suit each number with images from various stages of the bands long career. The highlights of the evening are the less well known tracks such as “Close Action”, “Balcony”, and rare B-side “The Crossing” where guitarist Bruce Watson with his son Jamie by his side, both do a Stirling job at recreating the band’s trademark twin guitar sound.

Hexagon: Big Country
Big Country: 01020304050607

At the mid point during the band’s set Mike Peters appears in the middle of the crowd to perform an spine tingling version of “Chance” where everybody in the place joins in with the chorus “Oh Lord Where did those feelings go, Oh Lord I never felt so low”, it was sung with such emotion and so loud that Stuart Adamson sitting up in heaven may well  have heard. The band’s great positive reaction to tonight, just shows how much fun these guys are having performing together again after all these years, these songs mean so much to so many people and hearing them once again played in this way with this collection of great musicians is truly awesome. The band finish off their near two hour set with a splendid version of Smokey Robinson’s “Tracks of My Tears” with two final classic tracks “Look Away and “Wonderland” . The satisfied audience file out of the hall to the sound of Adamson’s top class guitar work, as The Skids “In To The Valley” is played over the P.A. system.

Big Country
Angle Park
East Of Eden
Another Country
Restless Natives
The Crossing
In A Big Country
1000 Stars
The Storm
Harvest Home
Lost Patrol
Close Action
Fields Of Fire
Tracks Of My Tears
Look Away

Don’t Say It’s Over
Better Days
Last Train To Central
Butcher Man
Word Up(Cameo Cover)
Steal Your Fire
Shame On You

Big Country



Review and videos by Dave Chinery (Chinners)
Photography By Adrian Evans.

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