IT seemed that Jools Holland was venturing onto Runrig territory in more ways than one on Sunday.
Following the Highland band to finish off a busy run of four dates at the Northern Meeting Park, he even treated his Scottish audience to a snatch of "Loch Lomond" — even if he was a whole lot less certain of the lyrics than Runrig.
There similarities pretty much ended between the two, other than the sheer delight evident in the faces of their fans.
Jools Holland’s Rhythm and Blues Orchestra certainly lives up to its name, both in terms of scale and its fidelity to giving its audience a rocking good time with blues, pop and soul favourites and some older sounds from music’s back catalogue.
Holland’s rendition of the old Louis Armstrong number, "When You’re Smiling", was a better point of reference than "Loch Lomond".
With its big band sound, Holland and company’s music was so infectious that it would be hard not to have a big grin plastered over your face with the joy of it all.
Having endured three days of crowds stomping over the wet ground, the Northern Meeting Park was far from looking its best on Sunday with large sections, including half the bar, sealed off from the public. Even so, some hardy souls had taken promoter Les Kidger’s hopes for a picnic atmosphere for the final show to heart, and turned up with rugs and collapsible chairs to enjoy the music.
Sunday, preceded by a day of warm sunshine, had the best of it weather-wise for the four days of music at the Northern Meeting Park, but even so, it seemed to be a bit on the cool side for a southern visitor like Holland.
"Is it slightly cold in the theatre?" he asked.
"The roof isn’t what it was. So let’s get warm together."
Holland himself should have had no cause to feel cold. Dressed in his trademark black suit, he battered away at his piano while around him a line up of top professionals belted out a brass led wall of sound.
His vocal guests were of slightly mixed quality. Rico Rodriguez may be one of ska music’s founding father’s, but unlike his trombone there is a certain creakiness to his voice, though he did add a certain Caribbean warmth to the Highland evening.
The addition of Chris Difford allowed Holland to bring some of their old Squeeze hits out of the box for an airing, with a reggae-tinged "Take Me I’m Yours", followed by the perennially popular "Up The Junction" and a dance-friendly version of "Cool For Cats".
Difford, whose brief appearance certainly left the crowd wanting more, was introduced by Holland with a gift for hyperbole that suggested an alternative career as a market stall trader or the MC on a revived version of "The Good Old Days", Holland hyping up his "musical legend" bandmate as "the greatest poet of popular music Britain has ever known."
Holland’s other guests and bandmates received similarly ego-massaging introductions, including the final member of the re-united Squeeze triumvirate appearing in the Northern Meeting Park, Gilson Lavis.
However, after his moment in the spotlight, subjecting his drum kit to a sustained bashing that would have made even Holland’s piano feel sorry for it, it would have been hard to disagree with Holland’s assessment that the crowd had witnessed "the best drum solo that this city has seen and will ever see."
"Queen of Boogie" Ruby Turner showed that when her namesake Tina is not around, she is a perfectly good substitute when it comes to serving up some raunchy laden soul — even throwing a little gospel into the mix to remind us it was the Sabbath.
Finishing up with "Enjoy Yourself, It’s Later Than You Think" — a pretty good mantra for the evening as a whole — and blues standard "See See Rider", Holland’s top musical crew ensured CKEvents run of Summer in the City dates ended on a high note.