The Lochies. What a way to open the 2014 Hebridean Celtic Festival and there wasn’t an empty seat in the house.
Hands were clapping and toes were tapping all through the performance - the floorboards in An Lanntair auditorium didn’t know what had hit them when Shonnie ‘Beag’ Macmillan and brother Angus Macmillan along with Donnie ‘Gazette’ MacInnes took to the stage.
For decades Lochies’ records have been a part of everyday life for people throughout the islands, and the fondness for the group was clear to see at last night’s sell out concert.
Old favourites, from The Girl From Cromor to Amhran A Hirtaich, got the audience joining in and singing along as the songs just kept on coming.
“1968 was the first time that we got together to play,” said Angus . Donnie ‘Gazette’ chipped in “I was only two... Shonnie Beag was 34.”
After the laughter subsided Angus continued: “If someone had told us then that we would be singing in 2014, or whatever year this is, I would say they had been drinking too many screwtops!
“Time has moved on,” he said. “Don’t be confused by the shuffling of papers here with the stands – if you put the two stands together they make a zimmer frame.”
But no-one was fooled - The Lochies proved to be as big a hit in 2014 as they were no doubt at the Folk Competition at the 1968 National Mod in Dunoon.
At the end of the show Angus thanked the audience and staff at An Lanntair. He added: “We’d like to thank HecCelt for giving us the chance to sing together again, thank you very much.”
The audience were also treated to Lochies songs performed by Norrie Maciver, Iain Macinnes (son of Donnie ‘Gazette’), Anna Murray and Calum Alex Macmillan (son of Shonnie Beag).
What an extra special night and a fantastic start to HebCelt 2014.