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Review: Dougie MacLean at The Sage Gateshead

Scottish singer-songwriter Dougie MacLean creates a warm atmosphere in the intimate Hall Two at The Sage Gateshead as Martin Ellis reports

Dougie MacLean
Dougie MacLean

In Scotland the singer-songwriter has achieved national treasure status and across the English-speaking world he is highly respected in traditional folk music circles.

With his long hair and relaxed manner, Dougie MacLean has the appearance and attitude of an ageing hippy.

He shares with the Hall Two audience some advice that he was given by fellow Scot and folk singer Alex Campbell many years ago when he first starting performing: that folk singers should leave their egos in the dressing room.

Throughout this two-set concert, MacLean encouraged us to join in and sing along. His ability to introduce and teach a chorus line has been honed over thousands of concerts.

We were relaxed, at ease and MacLean clearly sees an audience as part of his performance.

His skill as a songwriter is perhaps what he has built his long career upon. His songs are beautifully crafted and easy to relate to. Here he had two guitars and a bouzouki and his delicate guitar-playing was magnificent.

At the end of the night he played Caledonia, the song which has become a Scottish anthem and his universally-recognised composition.

Right from the first note, MacLean created a lovely, warm and intimate atmosphere in Hall Two and, highly impressed, I went home with a glow.


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