DJ Shadow struggles with former glories.
Expectations and previous performances can be a bitch. Hope is the most valuable commodity a human can hold but when this hope or expectation becomes so big or is so weighted that it makes it near enough impossible to live up to, it can only lead to heartbreak or sorrow.
DJ Shadow is a case in point.
1996's 'Entroducing' is still hailed as one of the greatest records of the modern era, a text-book delivery of hip-hop and still a critic's benchmark. To follow on with 'The Private Press', an album whose only failing appeared to be the fact that it wasn't 'Endtroducing' but all that changed on his recent record 'The Outsider.' A far more varied and genre straddling record and featuring so many collaborators, it seemed to alienate many long term Shadow-ites.
And it was with this in mind, that shortly after DJ Shadow walked on stage and introduced his set by announcing what albums he would be playing songs from, that on the mention of his current record, confusion and some boos rolled out across the venue. Sure there was clapping and cheers but there were boos and it shocked, although perhaps Shadow saw it coming as he never recoiled, just merely went about saying he would always be trying new things and not everyone's going to like everything and set about changing minds.
And for a while, all was well with the world, a slow mood setting start had the crowd coming on board and by the time, the set gave way to 'Be There', Shadow's collaboration with Ian Brown under the UNKLE banner the night had the signs of being a classic as the tempo was upped and looked like staying there.
Even 'This Time' from the current album went down with its Northern Soul stomp and Prozac happy screen drop behind Shadow and as the night wore on, the better the show was becoming.
Until the special guests started coming out and all the momentum started to drain from the show. First on was Chris James to sing the two tracks he sang on the album and as the songs were actual songs as opposed to the more fluid feel than had gone before. Coupled that with a singer whose lack of charisma and acceptance at being placed at the side of the stage came through all too easy, the songs managed to glide off without making any impact.
The following guest Lateef The True Speaker may have infused a bit more hip-hop style to the show but this was ruined by his incessant cry of "make some noise Glasgow" although Shadows mixing and crowd teasing during 'Break it down.'
And yet, just when it was looking like a disaster, the guests left, leaving the main man by himself and he excelled once more, particularly with teasing and manipulation of The Organ Donor.
With an encore starting out with more apologies but increased defiance that he would carry on doing what he felt was right, Shadow laid out a mix of his past, encompassing the Thom Yorke track from the UNKLE days and culminating with 'Midnight in a perfect world.'
The night had a brilliant start and end with only the middle section losing its way. For most artists it would have felt like a decent victory but with memories of a triumphant Barrowlands performance in 2002 still fresh, it seemed like an evening of what could have been.
Then again, with the hope that DJ Shadow will return to a performance like that is more than enough reason to not give up on him yet.