Tayside piper Craig Weir has recalled the atmosphere of modern-day Rollermania in a personal tribute to Scots music “icon” Les McKeown.
As tributes continue to pour in following the tragic death of the Bay City Rollers frontman at the age of 65, musician Craig said the thrill of being part of the band’s 2015 reunion was unforgettable.
Craig’s career fronting bagpipe rock band Gleadhraich has seen him play for figures ranging from rock gods Queen to the Dalai Lama.
But he remembers the buzz of the Barrowland Ballroom as the highlight of being part of the Bay City Rollers’ first get together gigs in nearly 40 years.
“I was truly shocked and saddened to learn of the tragic death of Les McKeown,” said Craig.
“As frontman of one of Scotland’s most successful bands of all time, he truly was an icon.”
Then 22, Craig landed the reunion gig after a chance encounter with Les at Scotland’s Tartan Clef awards.
“We discussed using the pipes in their show and we exchanged several messages afterwards,” he said.
“It was pure luck I met him, but it was great as he was very enthusiastic about the work Gleadhraich were doing in trying to put the bagpipes firmly on the musical map with young Scots.”
The new found friendship saw Craig on stage for four nights of the Shang-A-Lang Xmas tour at the legendary Glasgow venue.
He played the bagpipes to rousing renditions of Loch Lomond in front of packed audiences reliving the heyday of the tartan-clad stars.
“The atmosphere inside the Barrowland was incredible and the Rollers were everything I imagined and hoped they’d be,” said Craig.
“They put on an amazing show.
“I feel hugely privileged that I got to know Les so well and tour with him on the Bay City Rollers reunion dates.
“He had a great sense of humour and offered great advice to upcoming musicians.
“I send my heartfelt wishes to his wife Peko and all the family.”
The Tayside musician remains busy with Gleadhraich and indie folk act Craig Weir and the Cabalistic Cavalry.
He has also seen a podcast venture soar since its launch last year.
Craig and pal Ali Ogilvie have seen Weir’s World: The All Ears Podcast listened to in around 25 countries.
It has featured a number of well-known Dundee figures sharing their stories with Craig’s own tales of his travels around the globe and the stars he has rubbed shoulders with through his music.