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Past Times

The night Shane MacGowan and The Pogues raised hell at a rowdy Aberdeen gig in 1988

After the tragic news of Shane MacGowan's death, we've gone into our archives to see what our review was like when The Pogues played Aberdeen at the Capitol Theatre in 1988. reports.
Susy Macaulay
Shane MacGown fronting The Pogues in an unidentified venue in 1988. Image: Fotex/Shutterstock
Shane MacGown fronting The Pogues in an unidentified venue in 1988. Image: Fotex/Shutterstock

The Pogues didn’t venture north of Glasgow much after they played to an Aberdeen crowd in 1988.

They played Aberdeen’s Ritzy in 1985, and the Capitol Theatre in March, 1988.

Although the band would go on to cement themselves as one of punk music’s most celebrated groups, Shane MacGowan and the rest of the Pogues created a raucous atmosphere which proved a bit much for the Evening Express reviewer at the Capitol gig.

Although, it seems the fans may have had their part to play in how the wild show went…

The reviewer wrote: “The Pogues trashed their reputation as a good live band as firmly as their fans trashed the front rows of seats at the Capitol.

People queueing up to get tickets at the Capitol Theatre in Aberdeen in 1980. Image: DC Thomson.

“As soon as they came on, the stage was rushed both downstairs and, more dangerously, up in the circle.

“Combined with a sound system which varied between poor and atrocious, it effectively ruined any chance of enjoying the show.

Shane MacGowan and The Pogues in an unidentified venue in 1988. Image: Fotex/Shutterstock

“And their choice of material, most from their last two albums, was predictable, with few of the more interesting numbers which take the Pogues above the level of rabble-rousers.”

Insight from roadie-turned-bassist on Shane’s songwriting

But the EE’s Citysound reporter Paul Massey took the opportunity to grab an interview with Pogue roadie Darryl Hunt, who had stepped in to replace bassist Cait O-Riordan when she quite the band two years earlier.

He offered some insight into the thoughts of Shane MacGowan at the time, after criticism of the band for ‘going soft’.

Their third album, If I Should Fall From Grace With God was in the charts, following the success of Fairytale in New York.

The album’s title track had been released as a single, amid come critics’ claims that the band was losing its hell-raising image.

Darryl said: “It’s not intended, and we have always tried to perform well live. it’s just that the group is developing, and Shane is getting the chance to write more intimate songs.

1988: Shane MacGowan and The Pogues. Image: Fotex/Shutterstock

“It’s something he’s always done but it’s just coming through now more.”

Darryl also described the band as very close.

“We were always close-knit. I was there when Cait quit and had been playing before, so we started rehearsing for a tour and it all went well.

“Once you get involved, you stay involved.”

Image: DCT

Sadly the band never played again in the north or north-east.

You can read more about the news of Shane MacGowan’s death here. 

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