Big Country Info Big Country Info


19 October 2019

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Big Country is touring with the “Return To Steeltown” 35th anniversary tour from September to December 2019.

Svein visited the first show of the tour, at the Cavern Club in Liverpool, on 12 September 2019. This show chronicles Svein’s BC-related experiences on that tour as well as the Cavern show in general.

But first, a news round-up:

  • WKW: the album is mixed and just about to be mastered. A crowd funding campaign with many different reward tiers is being planned, which should be announced not too long after the release of this episode – please look out for it and consider supporting it. The world premier
  • The Big Country Irish Fans Event. The third annual event was held last night in Dublin, was well-attended, and featured several great tribute bands as well as the world premiere , a WKW world premiere of Killiekrankie.
  • Speakpipe from Liam O Dubhghaill.
  • Club Country – the first issue of a new, digital-only Big Country fanzine. Hosted on John’s page, and featuring articles by both Tom (the background to the WKW project) and Svein (the history of the Great Divide podcast). Tom gives his raw, honest, unbiased opinion on the podcast article.

The various Steeltown tours through the years

  • Looking back at the Steeltown tours of 1984 and 2014, compared to the current 2019 tour
  • We play “Ask Tom” as he is put on the spot again, guessing how many shows the band did for each Steeltown tour – the answers being 37 in 1984, 29 in 2014, and 45 are planned for 2019.
  • How Steeltown tours always seem to happen during fall/the last quarter of the year.

Svein’s experiences summarized

  • It was Niall Featherstone who first suggested Liverpool, which made sense for a number of reasons.
  • The Cavern – its reputation as a concert venue, its legacy, and its status as an iconic club.
  • Planes, trains, and the apostles horses.
  • Wednesday: a day of record shopping and sight-seeing with a colleague’s husband
  • Thursday: The Magical Mystery tour, meeting BC fans immediately when arriving outside The Cavern, more record shopping/sight-seeing, meeting a colleague and her new baby, and going back to the Cavern in the afternoon to meet the band.
  • Speakpipe from Dermot Owens.
  • Meeting the band and people like Gordon, Janet, Gav and others for the first time.
  • Being a fly on the wall, watching the band work out their individual parts and set-up.
  • The band’s sound check would double as a small rehearsal, as they were working out a few things for some of the songs.

“Flame of the West” and “East of Eden” – live at soundcheck at The Cavern, 12 September 2019.

  • The difference between soundcheck and a live show.
  • Discussion of songs played – including “Tall Ships Go”, “Where the Rose is Sown” and “Come Back To Me”.

“Come Back To Me” – live at soundcheck at The Cavern, 12 September 2019.

  • Discussing the end section of “Come Back To Me,” how they didn’t really normally play that with Stuart, but how they have re-inserted it since. This is something we have seen for several songs – Bruce and Jamie put back a lot of lead parts and keep adding new parts to the songs.
  • The end section of “Come Back To Me” from the Cavern live show is played.
  • Why The Cavern is a bad place to conduct interviews.
  • Stuart Menzies’ Cavern photo competition, and how Gordon suggested I enter.
  • The one of a kind Great Divide t-shirt which Svein wore that day.
  • Speakpipe from Jeni Horby.
  • Wrapping up the soundcheck and other prepwork – Svein joined Bruce, Jamie, and Gav for dinner.
  • A tenacious tribute to Gav the Roadie.
  • Bruce’s reaction to Tom’s request that WKW’s “Seven Swords” should be played that evening.
  • Dinner stories from Wagamama in Liverpool. A firecracker of an experience, at least for two people.
  • The Spinal Tap moment: Bruce and Svein could not find the way out of the garage inside the Cavern garage.
  • Returning to the club and being able to meet BC fans and acquaintances old and new.
  • Speakpipe from Niall Featherstone.

The show!

  • 1: 1000 Stars. Excellent as a show opener. Huge shot of energy. The ability to turn on and off “performance mode”. (Sound clip featured.)
  • 2: Flame of the West. (Sound clip featured.)
  • 3: East of Eden. Talking about the approach to playing Steeltown – not the full album, and not sequentially. They played seven, and they mixed them up.  (Sound clip featured.)
  • 4: Look Away. Bruce’s introduction “let’s go back to the 80s.” Songs being timeless vs songs being more of their time. The crowd reaction was immense. Lots of singing, lots of jumping, lots of energy from the crowd. An incredible performance, both from the band and the fans, especially given the temperature levels.
  • 5: Lost Patrol. Another huge response from the crowd, where people perhaps got into it in more of a meaningful well. A true highlight.

“Lost Patrol” – live at The Cavern, Liverpool on 12 September 2019.

  • 6: Just A Shadow. Allowing people to catch their breaths a bit, but it came out really strong. (Sound clip featured.)
  • 7: Steeltown. Svein’s personal highlight of the evening. A huge song, a goosebump song. Svein also talks more about what Scott and Simon bring to the band and their stage presence.

“Steeltown” – live at The Cavern, Liverpool on 12 September 2019.

  • 8: Chance. A song where Simon took command, spoke to the audience, led in the singalong, and engaged more with the audience. Also, the story of the guy with the Chelsea Football Club t-shirt who was ordered to walk over to Gordon to get a BC short. (Sound clip featured.)
  • 9: Tall Ships Go. The Mark moment of the evening.
  • 10: In A Big Country. The moment in the evening when the head started getting a bit too much. We discuss The Cavern’s air-condition policies (they turn it off during shows). The old “sweat/condensation dripping from the walls”-myth is true!
  • 11: Where the Rose Is Sown. A barnstormer which the crowd was really into. Were the band unsure how to get back into the third verse from the middle section? Signs point to yes, but listen and make up your own mind. (Sound clip featured.)
  • 12: Come Back To Me. A lovely version. The outro section was very poignant and many people’s favourite moment of the evening.
  • 13: Wonderland. The audience explodes.
  • 14: Fields of Fire. The audience explodes (again).
  • 15: Restless Natives (encore). A fiery version which also was a highlight to many people.

“Restless Natives” – live at The Cavern, Liverpool on 12 September 2019.


  • After the show ends, the air-condition is turned back on! The club is a cesspool of sweat, sweaty people, and drops of sweat/condensation dripping down.
  • Everybody is in a fantastic mood. More mingling. Many people are met. It gets hard for Svein to keep names straight, but it’s amazing to talk to other Big Country fans.
  • Several of the people there were aware of the podcast and wanted to talk about that. That was very flattering. Some even liked it! :-)
  • Speakpipe from Hazel Brookes.
  • Speakpipe from Dario Dar.
  • Svein met Sandra, who refused Gordon to take his money.
  • Discussing the show with Bruce afterwards, including the setlist and the pain of leaving some songs out.
  • Svein’s picture with Bruce, Mark, and two Norwegian chocolates.
  • Scott’s tale of walking off stage absolutely soaked with many layers of sweat, and having to switch into the shirt he had planned to wear the next night.
  • The band looking ahead at the then upcoming Australian shows, and how the wives were not looking ahead to them - including Janet’s story of the last time Scott flew down there.
  • Svein’s refreshing walk back to the hotel, in lovely fresh air, even dodging a mugging attempt.
  • Speakpipe from Paul Bratley.

Outro: Mark thanking the fans and introducing the band at The Cavern.