01. I Remember That
03. The Sound of Crying
04. Machine Gun Ibiza
05. Andromeda Heights
06. We Let the Stars Go
07. Life’s a Miracle
08. If You Don’t Love Me
09. Jordan: The Comeback
10. Faron Young
11. Couldn’t Bear to be Special
14. A Life of Surprises
15. Electric Guitars
16. Cars and Girls
18. I’m a Troubled Man
19. Carnival 2000
20. Moving the River
21. Hey Manhattan
22. Lions in my Own Garden (Exit Someone)
24. One of the Broken
25. When Love Breaks Down
26. Goodbye Lucille #1
27. Cowboy Dreams
28. Looking for Atlantis
29. Where the Heart is
30. Prisoner of the Past
A recording of this show exists, good to excellent audience tape – Looking For Atlantis is truncated.
“SO that’s what Paddy McAloon’s been doing all this time – avoiding barbers and eating all the pies.
“Last seen as a relatively well manicured thirty-something, the North-East’s second finest pop songwriter of the last 20 years [after the Pet Shop Boys’ Neil Tennant] now comes complete with long, grey beard and middle age spread.
“The Grizzly Adams look apart, however, little has changed in Prefab Sprout land, where it is perpetually a romantic summer night, some time in 1988, with wistful, tasteful and tuneful songs to remind us of the good times.
“We Let The Stars Go is a classic example, a gorgeous little ditty about the girl that got away that showcases McAloon’s uncanny gift for the killer tune. It could reduce Vinnie Jones to tears, and reminds you that when Prefab Sprout are good, they are very good.
“The trouble with the Prefabs [or should that be the Sprouts?] is their lack of musical invention. When the choruses are great, as they often are, you can forgive the slightly bland guitar-keyboard sound. But when the tunes drop in quality a tad, you feel like you’ve been put on hold at a BT call centre.
“When occasionally McAloon steps out of his well-mannered self and rocks like a good ‘un on Faron Young, he is almost apologetic. It takes Cars and Girls to remind the audience just why the band were Smash Hits staples in the late 80s.
“All is forgiven with When Love Breaks Down, still one of the great breaking-up songs of this or any age. It even inspires some of the baby boomer audience to get out of their comfortable City Hall seats and dance as if it were a time when snow-washed denim was an acceptable fashion item.
“Two of Prefab Sprout’s last three albums have been Greatest Hits collections, a sure sign that their record company is frustrated with their lack of output. McAloon reportedly has hundreds of songs stockpiled in his Consett home, and on this evidence, there is definitely an audience desperate to hear them.
“How about it, Paddy? We should do this again some time soon. Really, we should.”
“The 2000 tour – promo posters featured Paddy’s face from the 38 Carat Collection cover – was almost too much. The gig in Newcastle took a while to warm up. We were about ten rows from the front. Paddy was relaxed, and apologised for Wendy’s non-appearance but she’d just had a baby. (I wondered “why not wait another 6 or 12 months?”, we now know she’d left the band.) Said that Britney Spears was on her way to the stage but that she was still on Grey Street on her tricycle. Someone shouted something about his beard, he retorted with “the best one I’ve heard so far is ‘Where’s Captain Birds Eye?'”.
“I say “almost too much” because they played *everything* and didn’t leave us wanting more. Neil Conti played brilliantly, the solo drum pattern before the key change in Jordan blew me away. I remember some really crappy Kitchenware t-shirt for sale, something like “every 4.2 seconds, someone doesn’t buy a Prefab Sprout record””
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