Crocodile Shoes Tour Review – April 3rd 1995 at the Edinburgh Playhouse

Review by Claire Blacklock

My tickets for Jimmy’s first tour were booked back in the January and after 3 months of anticipation, the day had arrived.  Jimmy was appearing live in my home city and I couldn’t wait for the evening to get to the theatre.  The plan was to go to the concert with Mum, but she called that afternoon to say that she wasn’t feeling well and wouldn’t be able to make it.  Oh no!!  Luckily, Gran was a big Jimmy fan too so she decided to come along with me instead.

We got to the theatre in time to get a tour programme, and then found our seats in Row D, four rows from the front.  At least we were going to get a good view of him, plus there was nobody in front or to the side of me either.  Excellent!!  First on stage was the support act Deana Carter who was a Country and Western style artiste.  She did a very good set and warmed the audience up ready for the big man himself.

There was a short interval and then the auditorium became dark in anticipation of Jimmy’s arrival on stage.  We waited patiently, then a lone male voice in the audience shouted out, “Come on, Spender!!” which was met with raucous laughter from the rest of the crowd.  It must have done the trick because a minute or two later, the familiar opening bars of “Crocodile Shoes” were heard and a large shadowy figure walked towards the microphone at the front of the stage.  The lights came up and there he was - Jimmy Nail in the flesh, looking fabulous in his black jeans, white shirt and black suit jacket.  As soon as he started to sing, the whole audience went crazy, clapping and whistling.  We could have been listening to the CD itself – his voice was faultless and the band note perfect.  A great start to the concert.

He finished the song and then spoke to the audience.  We found out that this was his first time playing live in Scotland and that he had been looking forward to it for the whole tour, emphasising that he was sincere and not talking “flannel”.  We were treated to his personal theory that before Hadrian’s Wall was built, that Newcastle was actually part of Scotland so considers himself to be an honorary Scot.  That went down VERY well indeed.

A couple more songs were played from the Crocodile Shoes album, then a rendition of “Bad Boy” which he introduced with the words, “this is dedicated to me past!” which raised lots of laughs.  Afterwards, he asked if any of us were watching the repeats of “Auf Wiedersehen, Pet” that were on Channel 4.  He then told us his own kids asked him, “Who’s that nasty man who goes round swearing and head butting people?”  To which Jimmy replied, “That’s yer Dad!!”  Cue more laughter from the audience.  It was then time for “I Can’t be Myself”, the song he performed in the second series of Auf Pet, then a new song called “What Kind of a Man am I?”.  When it came to the lyric, “I’m half the man I used to be”, Jimmy turned to us and said “that’s the truth!” - a really funny moment. 

Jimmy treated us to some more music off the Crocodile Shoes album, then covers of “The Blue Bayou” and the John Lennon song, “Love” which would later feature on the Big River album and become a single.  An introduction to the band and an acoustic set then followed with a rousing rendition of “My Friend the Sun” which got us all tapping our feet and then another new song, “Fear No Evil”.  Then Jimmy thanked his band and the audience and it the end of the show – or so we thought.    

Much to everybody’s delight, Jimmy and the band returned to the stage for an encore and did an outstanding performance of his 1985 hit, “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore”.  Then it was time for his number one hit, “Ain’t No Doubt” – my favourite song.  Well, that was it – nearly everybody was up on their feet by this time, including myself who was dancing around like crazy.  A bit of audience participation during the chorus and then to my absolute surprise and delight, Jimmy looked over and smiled at me from the stage.  I thought it may have been my imagination, but Gran had seen it too and commented on it - how fabulous!  He performed one last song after this, a cover of “High Heeled Sneakers” accompanied by Andy Caine from the band.  Jimmy then thanked us all and said that it had been the best gig of the tour so far and that we’d done him proud.  We then showed our appreciation by giving him a standing ovation – it was all over and it had gone so quickly.

After the concert finished, I managed to get a poster and then Gran and I went to the stage door to see if he was available to sign autographs along with some more fans.  Sadly, he had already left for the evening, but none of us were greatly disappointed as we were all still buzzing from the show.      

Jimmy treated his Edinburgh audience to two great hours of singing, interspersed with funny anecdotes.  I can’t imagine one member of the audience going home without a smile on their face.  I’m really glad that Gran came to Jimmy’s show with me, because it was one of the last things we did together - she sadly passed away after a short illness the next again year.  We both had such a fabulous evening and it is one of my happiest memories of her.