Manchester, Bridgewater Hall: April 11th, 2000

bridgewaterhall-500Set Listing

01. I Remember That
02. Bonny
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
12. Dragons
13. Appetite
14. A Life of Surprises
15. Electric Guitars
16. Cars and Girls
17. Cruel
18. I’m a Troubled Man
19. Carnival 2000
20. Moving the River
21. Hey Manhattan
22. Lions in my Own Garden (Exit Someone)
23. Swans
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 concert exists. Good crowd recording, drums a bit heavy and not the clearest sound of the tapes from this tour.

“DESPITE being loved by the critics, respected by their peers, and adored by a devoted following, Prefab Sprout were always a fish out of pop music’s murky waters.

“A reluctance to tour – their first Manchester gig in 10 years – has given main man Paddy McAloon a reputation as the Howard Hughes of pop, but he played with the verve of someone who’d never been away.

“His fresh-faced looks have given way to a beard and flowing grey locks. He looks more like an Old Testament prophet than a pop music genius; opening the gig with a sombre I Remember That was irony writ thick.

“His strict adherence to technical perfection is legendary, and at times you could have been listening to a CD rather than watching it live; The Sound of Crying sounded gorgeous but McAloon thought otherwise. That was spectacularly naff,” he said, so let’s start again.”

“Bonny, When Love Breaks Down, and We Let the Stars Go were always Kleenex moments and last night was no different.” Mike Barnet, Manchester Evening News

“I saw them in Manchester on the last tour – not much of a ‘rock’ venue the Bridgewater Hall. Seats are so dull!

“My main memories were the cocking up of ‘Sound of Crying’ (I think it was) and having to start it again and the fact it took until Goodbye Lucille to really warm up as a gig.”

belly, sproutnet discussion forum

“Regarding Paddy’s voice – I saw PS live in Manchester on the recent(ish) tour and have to say that Goodbye Lucille #1 was absolutely magnificent. Goose bumps was not the word, I almost fell out my seat at the power with which Paddy sang it. Show highlight – no question.

“The gig was an odd experience (not least as Paddy was in Father Christmas looking mode at the time and it was at the Bridgewater Hall Concert Venue not great for ‘pop’), after being quite pedestrian at the start (and cocking up one of the songs) they really got into things and produced a cracking show. It was Goodbye Lucille #1 that got everyone started. Its never been one of my favoutite PS songs (I love Steve McQueen but its not a stand out track from a whole ‘first side’ of classics) but after that performance I always give it a special ‘extra hard’ listen to recpature the moment. Fantastic.” Andy Bell, zorrophonic mailing list

“Yeah, anyway, I know it’s over a month late, but I finally get around to have a gig review (of sorts) of the show at the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, 11th April (I know it’s been a long time but I’ve had major stuff happening so this is about the first opportunity I’ve had).

Anyways, these are just random comments as I think of them. If you agree/disagree, let me know (hey you never know we might actually get a discussion going on here)

  • I wasn’t expecting the beard.
  • Lions in My Own Garden sounds better live than it does on CD
  • Ditto Cruel
  • Ditto all of Swoon actually.
  • The slower version of If You Don’t Love Me is far superior to the original.
  • Johnny Johnny was breathtaking. Nice to know his voice can still handle it.
  • Favourite song of the night definitely One of the Broken.
  • Best heckling: Play some ZZ Top. See beard.
  • Langley Park is still my least favourite album.
  • Where the Heart is was the wrong song to end with. Should have been something like Prisoner of the Past.
  • Paddy stopped The Sound of Crying half way through cos he didn’t think it sounded good enough. Second time round it was amazing. Nice to see some people are still perfectionists.
  • £3.50 for a vodka and coke is extortionate. As stunning as the Bridgewater Hall is as a venue, it’s too expensive – play somewhere cheaper!

Hilary Gurney, Prefabsprout mailing list 

“There’s no new product to promote. Prefab Sprout have only released one new album in the last ten years, 1997’s ‘Andromeda Heights’, and the last time Paddy McAloon charted he was writing for Jimmy Nail. Credibility and career-plans, you’ll understand, mean nothing to Mr McAloon.

“He’s one of the old school, a craftsman. His are complex, delicate, unfashionable pop songs that yield great things the harder you listen. Which probably explains why we’re sitting in the acoustically amazing, if sterile, Bridgewater Hall. Without Paddy, centre-stage, merrily deflecting remarks about his luxurious beard it would all be terribly tight-arsed. As it is, people actually shout out requests. Crazy.

“That Paddy includes ‘Cars And Girls’ (subtlety itself) and ‘Cowboy Dreams’ (absolutely trite, a hit for ‘wor Jimmy) in the same set is, endearingly perverse. But over 30 songs (plus intermission) there are frustrating moments amid the greatness. Despite this four-piece’s obvious empathy and skill, certain songs, like ‘Carnival 2000’, sound undernourished, stripped of their studio trickery.

“There are no new songs tonight, either, though Paddy’s theme to ITV’s ‘Where The Heart Is’ is coming out next month. The grand, Spector-ish finale, ‘ A Prisoner Of The Past’, isn’t some knowing farewell. Thankfully. Paddy’s one of pop’s true eccentrics, and still, you suspect, capable of anything.”

Tony Naylor, NME

“I remember going to see Prefab Sprout at the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester about 10 years ago. It was a really relaxed sort of gig, almost acoustic, and all was going well until half way through the second set when the band began playing The Sound of Crying. Seconds after the opening notes it became very clear that front man Paddy McAloon was on the wrong page; the band knew it, the audience knew it.

“It was only as he approached the middle eight – a whole verse too soon – that it dawned on him that he had cocked up. He turned to the band, who by that point could do little to help, then back to the audience and burst out laughing.

“It was fabulous. He laughed, we all laughed. He apologized and started again.”

Andy Hase, China Daily, 25/11/2008


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