There are a lot of firsts for home‑town heroes Comedy Of Errors tonight. In front of their Glasgow fans, they play four songs they’ve never performed live before, they omit fan favourite The Student Prince from the setlist for the first time ever, and they wheel out Could Have Been Yesterday – which the band amusingly call Chubby – from 2011 album Disobey for its live debut.
Considering this is their first Glasgow show in a year and that as support for headliners Lifesigns, they only have 45 minutes to impress, you have to admit it’s a brave move.
They open with a dip into their most recent album Spirit’s title track. They have no choice but to dice it up as the song itself runs longer than their allotted stage time. Having taken so many risks for this gig, the band are nervous and that five-minute sliver, the section called Above The Hills, is strewn with missed cues and bum notes.
However, with that shaky opening out of the way, things quickly get back on track and the band start to really impress. Nerves are still evident on stage, although not in lively frontman Joe Cairney, who marks every chord change with either an air punch or an air Glasgow kiss – that’s a headbutt for the uninitiated.
Prowling the stage with purposeful steps, he points at, and catches the eye of, various audience members and damn near demands that they enjoy themselves. And with the threat of that Glasgow kiss lingering in the air, he finds no dissenters.
Ageing prog devotees mingle happily with an almost equal number of young fans, showing that Comedy Of Errors retain an appeal that many of their peers find difficult to hold on to as their careers progress. Perhaps it’s because the six-piece band bring something special to the mix – particularly the effortless John Fitzgerald on bass, who is the glue that holds this group together on stage.
Something She Said comes around midway through the set, by which time the crowd are well and truly invested in what’s turning out to be a splendid show. The track’s intro features a stuttering (in a good way) riff that expands into a thing of real beauty.
The same applies to the aforementioned Chubby, which for a song that’s never been performed live before is met with the kind of rapturous applause usually reserved for career-defining hits. Judging by the reception it gets tonight, it surely won’t be the last time they play this one.
The band finish with the single edit of Spirit, putting a decisive exclamation point on a triumphant set that has everyone in the room wishing that Comedy Of Errors had rather more time to celebrate their homecoming.