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Stirling's Hogmanay Stirling Castle

You would not hesitate to recommend it to more visitors because the location beats even what the capital has to offer, but Stirling's Hogmanay is chiefly a local event for forgiving central Scotland folk, happy to go along with a pre-midnight timetable that involved headliners Deacon Blue going off and coming on again, Dougie McLean leading a communal Caledonia that could have done with a bit more thought, and ebullient Real Radio DJ Steve McKenna making up for in enthusiasm what he lacked in the way of a watch.

Slick it wasn't, but no-one really minded.

Things might have been safer in the hands of Bags of Rock frontman Gregor James, who not only has his hard rock trad septet of guitars, pipes and drums drilled, but kept the audience on the front foot as well. Another really sparkling element of the night was the post-bells fireworks display, quite the prettiest and cleverest (saltires a-gogo) the event has had.

Although the influence of the late Gordon Duncan was explicitly acknowledged in the Bags of Rock set, the musical sophistication of the night was left in the hands of Deacon Blue, the outdoor sound mix remarkable on a set that mixed their hits with newer songs like the excellent title track of Hipsters. Frontman Ricky Ross was rockin' a fine gentleman farmer look, complete with a watch chain. Alas, the countdown was not in his hands.

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