Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh: October 21st, 1985

queenshallSet Listing

01. Horsechimes
02. Moving The River
03. Cars And Girls
04. Bonny
05. Faron Young
06. Hallelujah
07. Lions In Own Garden Exit Someone
08. Wicked Things
09. Goodbye Lucille #1
10. Don’t Sing
11. Tiffany’s
12. When Love Breaks Down
13. When The Angels
14. Appetite
15. Cruel

Without Wendy, who was sick. The concert was moved from the smaller Coasters venue: the Queen’s Hall holds about 900.

A recording of this concert exists. Excellent clear audience recording, fair amount of crowd noise initially but gets better.

“This recording brings back some special memories for me. It was twenty years ago and I was the clichéd pimply teenager. Music, it seemed, was the most important thing in the world. John Peel and some New Musical Express journalists were hyping Prefab Sprout. I was young and easily impressed by London journalists and these were the days when I thought little of splashing out the remains of my salary on half a dozen pieces of vinyl. When I bought ‘Steve McQueen’ I wasn’t disappointed – the album was a beautifully crafted piece pop music. I played it over and over again. I still do.

“A few months later Paddy and co. came on tour and came to my hometown, Edinburgh. I can’t remember many details of the gig – I bought my ticket from ‘Ripping Records’ a great music store, which had every record worth buying at the time, and I think the show was eventually sold out.

“I remember wondering how the Sprouts would square the lush production of ‘Steve McQueen’ with performing live. I wasn’t disappointed and the show flew by; ‘Moving the River’ was as slick and smooth as you could imagine, the then unreleased ‘Wicked Things’ sticks in memory as something worth listening out for later.

“The performance of ‘Bonny’ just blew me away. ‘Cruel’ was just a perfect ending to a perfect show. I remember leaving the show with a warm feeling and thinking I had been in the presence of something special.”

Alan from UK (quoted on Ferhiga’s Prefab Sprout Site)

“This gig, part of the tour to promote this second album had initially been pencilled in for Edinburgh’s Coasters, but was moved at the last minute to the larger Queens Hall, in response to ticket demand. I recall the band were quite late to come on, and did so without vocalist Wendy Smith – a cold, was the reason given, but we never got to see the sick-note and there were rumours just after the gig of a huge fall-out between she and McAloon. 

“Whether this was true or not, we never knew, but as the pair were an item at this point, I am guessing like most partners who worked together, occasional Cold Wars were inevitable.

“During the wait for the band to pitch up (whilst McAloon was pleading with a huffy Smith one imagines), over the PA came the unmistakeable harmonica intro to Don’t Sing, the opener on the band’s Swoon album. The whole of the rest of the album followed, and it struck me as such an odd thing to do: for a band to play a recording of their own music prior to a gig.

“The reasons for this behaviour only became apparent as the set progressed as, crushingly from my standpoint, the Swoon album was more or less ignored during the evening. Quite a brave thing to do it could be argued, given the band only had two albums released at this point in the career. The bulk of the set (8 of the 15 tunes played) came from, perhaps not surprisingly, the Steve McQueen set, but there were also a clutch of new ‘uns.

“Had we but known it the band had already recorded a third album – Protest Songs, but which would remain locked away for another four years for reasons I won’t bore you with. And the set featured three songs from this collection. Additionally, there was what must have been an early run through of a tune which would go on to become one of the band’s biggest hits: Cars and Girls. “

Therockandrollknife blog

Edinburgh Student Union Newspaper, October 24th 1985



One thought

  1. Yes – this is 100% my recording – me going ‘yay’ at beginning – ’85 was a hard year for me – aged 20 – mother died aged 46 … the girl left too… breaking my young heart to When Love …. Bonnie and Appetite – ‘how old are you – 21?’ so poignant – the best!

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