The 2000 Tour Revisited in Real Time – Fifteen Years to the Day

paddyshepI’ve been plotting this project for a while.

We are fifteen years on from the last ever Prefab Sprout tour, which started on the 30th March 2000.  And as this tour was uniquely well bootlegged due to the easy availability of minidisc and cassette Walkman recorders – there is something from every show, with in some cases multiple recordings – it’s a great excuse to post the entire tour on the date of each show, a sort of real time history capsule.

There are, unfortunately, a few gaps. There’s not much of the Liverpool show – only the final 4 songs. And the second half of the Cambridge show isn’t available (beyond what was broadcast by the BBC: both the audience and BBC FM tapes will be going up). The recordings are not uniform and often of patchy quality – the main taper was learning as he went along. There isn’t much variation in the gigs, with the exception of Leeds where Juli from the Zorrophonic group persuades Paddy to play “Wichita Lineman”, and in Dublin where Mick Lynch gets a special version of “Nightingales” on the second night. But it’s a unique collection.

I’m rather hoping that this will flush out some more recordings too. Anything is of interest even if there’s another recording of it here, it’s amazing what can be done with even poor quality recordings in combination with others. So if you have any cassettes or minidiscs, do let me know (indeed this goes for any recording, not just from this tour).

Remember, at this time, no one had any idea Paddy had a long beard or that Wendy had left, and it very much marked the end of the “old” Prefab Sprout. Paddy is generally relaxed and chatty – with the exception of the first London gig where he was evidently pissed off about something and refused to play “Prisoner” – and the banter with the crowd is always amusing, for me better when off the cuff than the prepared jokes.

The first concert – Nottingham – will be posted tomorrow. And then something most days for a couple of weeks. Check the gigography for the dates, and if you want the best quality gigs, I’d recommend Leeds in particular and Dublin second night which are both nicely recorded and eventful. Oh, and the BBC FM recording of Cambridge – edited but pristine and there’s a particularly good source for this, better than the usually circulating one.

The tour certainly was a “blink and you’ll miss it” sort of affair. Actually I just blinking missed it myself. At the time I was waiting for the birth of my second son, and although in the event he happened to arrive on a gap in the dates between London and Dublin, I don’t think I’d have been allowed to go even had I been paying attention to Prefab Sprout.

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