Dexys – ‘Nowhere Is Home’ Deluxe Album Review

Dexys Nowhere Is Home

I’m going to put my cards on the table straight away. Not only do I think that “One Day I’m Going To Soar” was one of the best albums of 2012, to me it is one of the greatest albums of all time. Considering Kevin Rowland’s years in the artistic wilderness, penniless, squatting in a house in Willesden for a couple of years, going through rehab and yet still refusing, point blank, to compromise on his artistic integrity when he finally got the band back together for a new project, the amount of respect I feel for him is immense. The fact that many people still see Dexy’s [Midnight Runners] as an almost one-hit wonder novelty band whose hugely popular “Come On Eileen” remains a staple at wedding receptions everywhere is a source of irritation to those who know and love the band’s music, as well as to the band themselves, I’m sure. “One Day I’m Going To Soar” is the ultimate vindication of Rowland’s talent and the live shows, where the new album was not only played in full but given an emotional and entertaining theatrical interpretation, left the vast majority of the audience in such raptures that the second half of the set, featuring some of the Dexy’s best loved songs, felt like an added bonus to an already superb show. Simply put, with the quality of “One Day I’m Going To Soar”, we didn’t actually need to hear the hits.

I had already seen the Dexy’s “Nowhere Is Home” show at London’s Barbican theatre, the year before they embarked on their Duke Of York residency, but I didn’t pass up the opportunity to see it again when the series of theatre dates were announced. Pleasingly, the second time I saw the show live, it was even better than the first. As excellent as the gig was at The Barbican, the Duke Of York performances were fully developed and realised in a way that the early performances of the album hadn’t been. It is entirely fitting that the final few night have been captured here, on film, as the culmination of everything Rowland and the band had been working towards. The performances are truly magnificent and the accompanying documentary film explains fully just how much of the musicians’ self went into what they did on stage each night. The album itself is jam packed full of emotional turmoil – self doubt, love, lust, commitment issues, alienation – and to reproduce all of that in a way that connected completely with the audience, as well as providing more than a handful of laughs, was an astonishing and, it seems, draining feat. What an utter triumph, though.

The deluxe package contains everything a fan could ever need, relating to this project. On the first DVD is the critically acclaimed “Nowhere Is Home” documentary film which saw a brief cinema release. The second DVD is the entire show from The Duke Of York theatre in London, compiled from the best performances over the final few nights of the show’s run and is honestly one of the finest live shows you will ever see by any band. The first and second CD are an audio representation of the live show, from start to finish, with the best recordings selected from two shows (24th and 27th April, 2013) for this double live album. The third CD is a short, four-track, bonus disc and is notable only for the radio mixes of the singles, “She Got A Wiggle” and “Incapable Of Love”. The fourth and final disc is a remastered version of the “One Day I’m Going To Soar” studio album which will be superfluous to most purchasers of the deluxe set who most likely already own it, I’m sure, but it does provide the final piece of the jigsaw for the whole project. It would be extremely easy and entirely justified to write an entire review dedicated to each segment of this deluxe package, but needless to say, the documentary, the live show, the audio representation and the remastered “One Day I’m Going To Soar” are all impeccably excellent and I highly recommend this beautifully attractive deluxe set for any Dexy’s fan, old or new.

Andy Sweeney, 23rd October, 2014.

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