Shepherds Bush Empire – April 12th 2000

shepsqWe’re on the last leg of the UK tour now, and in London for the first of two nights.

The first night is a curious concert. It’s pretty good, and very nicely recorded – I believe it was made by a US visitor (there were apparently loads of minidisc recorders deployed and of course I’d love any alternate recordings that may exist). But curiously, and I think uniquely on this tour, the band failed to come back for the encore of “Prisoner of the Past”, despite extended and enthusiastic applause. Eventually the roadies came on to pack up and were booed, very unusual at any concert.

The excuse given at the time was problems with Paddy’s voice due to smoke allergies, but it seems he’d been in a bad mood for the entire day for some reason.

Rona Topaz explained what she saw in a Facebook post:

“I was at the first London gig. I had never seen Paddy in a foul temper before and I arrived backstage just in time to see a very angry, nearly blind Paddy being lead out by someone I took to be a minder, but who was in fact someone acting as a human equivalent of a guide dog…I had been told Paddy was in a foul mood all evening and it was only when I saw him leaving and saw how he was reacting to me and everyone else that I believed them. Goodness knows what had happened…”

It’s not all that surprising. At the end of a long and gruelling schedule, anyone can get a bit narky and perspective shrinks to a red tinged tunnel of rage. It doesn’t take much to go wrong to get into a serious temper where everything seems to be irritation and the result of some sort of enemy action, I’ve been there myself when travelling for work on long trips. The reason it maybe seems incongruous in the Prefab Sprout context is that Paddy is known for a public persona of extreme amiability. But quite comforting to know there’s a little more to him than that.

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