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  • Writer's pictureBen Waterworth

First southern soirée

Updated: Nov 7, 2021

After more than 30 years touring the world, legendary Scottish duo The Proclaimers are set to grace the stage in Southland for the very first time. BEN WATERWORTH spoke to the famous duo ahead of their visit.

Twins Charlie and Craig Reid will bring their New Zealand tour to Invercargill on May 5 and Charlie Reid is excited to finally see a part of the country that will feel particularly close to the pair.

“It’s been an ambition of ours to play in Invercargill because we’ve never actually done it yet,” Mr Reid told The Advocate South. “We’ve played in Dunedin several times and we’re feeling that the knowledge of how many Scots people went to particularly the southern part of New Zealand. You feel it in a way you feel it in Nova Scotia. Or the Carolinas in America. It’s really important.”

The brothers will open their tour in Christchurch two days before their Invercargill show and said it was important to bring a much needed distraction to the city.

“When you see something like that happen in any city in the world it’s awful and you feel so sorry for those people caught up in it in the way that everything ripples out to the whole city. Specifically when you know the city…I think entertainment is good for people. You can’t do anything but if you can take people’s minds off the troubles for an hour or two that’s all an entertainer can ever do I think.”

The Proclaimers recently released their 11th studio album Angry Cyclist which has given the band its highest charting album (17 in the UK) in a decade. Mr Reid said they used the idea of a cyclist riding through a busy city and being bombarded by heavy traffic as a metaphor for people feeling battered and overwhelmed by the current global political climate as the album’s title track.

“I think there is a lot going on so there’s a lot to talk about,” he said. “Both Craig and I are quite amazed at how many bands seem to go through and then mention nothing. There is this time of massive upheaval of people around the world… there seems to be an awful lot of bands in the UK who just don’t go near it. And I don’t know if they think it’s going to affect the record sales or alienate people or there’s probably a bit of all of that. It seems very strange.”

Despite constantly releasing new music, the band is still best known for its hits I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) and I’m On My Way, which to this day are still used frequently in a variety of TV shows, movies and advertising campaigns.

Mr Reid said if it wasn’t for the use of their songs in movies such as Shrek and Benny & Joon they might not be playing to the big crowds they still do today.

“If we knew what the secret was, to 500 Miles particularly, you would want to do it again. Of course you would. The song is so much bigger now than when it was released. I’m On My Way to some degree, but certainly I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) is a way bigger song now than when it was released. And it just seems to have grown and grown. You get successive generations who get into it.”

The Proclaimers perform in Invercargill on May 5 at the Civic Theatre.

This article was originally written for The Advocate. You can read the published version here

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