Shepherds Bush Empire: April 13th 2000

shepherds01. 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, excellent audience recording. Some slightly obtrusive clicks and cracks, but generally very good to excellent.

“I wanted to write a review of the great show I attended last night at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London as I know not everyone reading this will be able to see the band on this tour. I was lucky to be able to attend as I’m from Sheffield (where they aren’t playing this time around, and where I saw them for the first time in 1990 – what a show that was) but I’m on business in London which coincided perfectly. I noticed quite a few people there on their own actually, and a wide range of people of all ages and races. It was one of the most mixed audiences I’ve ever seen.

“The show was completely sold out the night before and I don’t know if this date was sold out but the 3,000 capacity venue was certainly full. Paddy must have felt heartened to know that he hasn’t been forgotten. Quite the opposite – with the dross that it is the current music scene people are increasingly delving back in time inside their music collections, to a time when bands were real bands and wrote fantastic songs that evoked real emotion. And Prefab Sprout are certainly one of the finest examples.

“You could actually hear the gasp from the audience as Paddy walked on and everyone wondered if they were at the right venue. Yes, there was Martin and Neil and Jess, it must be them! Although Paddy appeared to look closer to 50 than 40, a closer look behind the mass of hair and tinted hippy glasses revealed the familiar features we are more used to seeing. His beard was quite spectacular actually, it had a Mallen- like white (or was it grey?) streak directly through the center. When he later sang the famous intro line “Hi, this is God here…” we could actually believe it was the big guy himself! Dress him in a white robe and he’d be a dead ringer!

“‘We’re a pared down version of the Sprouts tonight, or perhaps a sprouted down version of the Pears … maybe not!’ Joked Paddy.

Although it was their most sparse live line up yet (“Wendy can’t be here, she’s had a baby boy so she’s a bit busy at the moment, but she says Hi”) and there were no extra guitarists or percussionists you can’t accuse them of not being good value for money. The four-strong line up were tight and we were treated to 30 (count ’em!) songs and a two-hour set in total, which focused on content rather than style and a big production, which disappointed some people from comments I overheard. But the die-hard fans were in Heaven, singing their hearts out, never taking their eyes off the stage.

“Hi, how’ve you been?” Paddy asked us. In amongst the cheers someone shouted “Orpheus 2” which Paddy asked him to repeat. He just scrunched up his face and shrugged his shoulders as everyone echoed his confusion. Most surreal part of the night.

“The show was in two parts, with the band basically acting as their own support act, playing fourteen songs then the other sixteen after a 30 minute break. They were the best support act I’ve seen for a long time!

“They started in nostalgic mode with ‘I remember that’, then got us all bobbing about with the sublime Bonny. Then came a song that Paddy announced he wrote after the Gulf War. ‘I never heard the lyrics so clearly before’ I heard someone say, ‘Aren’t they clever?’. Next was Machine Gun Ibiza. All the Jordan songs went down a storm. Then we were brought back to date (well three years ago is yesterday in Prefab Sprout time) with Andromeda Heights and the biggest special effect of the night; the backdrop turning into a starry night sky. Well, it was better than nothing. Pink Floyd they aint – and all the better for it.

“It was smooching time next with the divine ‘We let the Stars go’ –Paddy filling in for Wendy as best he could. Although it wasn’t the same without her soft tones it didn’t spoil the song at all. Paddy showed his full vocal range the whole night and sounded really powerful when he let rip.

“The romantic vibe continued with my second favourite song from Andromeda – Life’s a Miracle which went down a storm. ‘This is a different version of a song we recorded seven years ago’ Paddy said next, as I racked my brain trying to remember an album with new material from 1993. It was one of the new ones from the Life of Surprises compilation of course, the Kylie-covered ‘If you don’t love me’. Kylie brought out a different side to the song, echoed by this version, which I would describe as a cross between the slow Kylie version and the more upbeat original.

“Jordan: The Comeback was next, then Paddy stopped to re-tune his guitar. He realized he was taking a little longer than he should have and he said ‘I don’t know why I’m doing this, I’m going to bash the heck out of it with the next song’ (Loud cheers). The big intro to Faron Young followed and everyone went wild for three minutes.

“‘Get yer ‘air cut!’ someone shouted as the applause died down. “You’re suddenly getting brave back there” said Paddy. “You want to know why the hair, why the beard?” He asked. “BECAUSE I’M WORTH IT!” He shouted with a big grin. Funniest part of the night.

“”Here’s a song from our first album Swoon’ – Huge cheers, followed by ‘I Couldn’t Bear to be Special’. The front row knew this one word for word. ‘Next is a song that our romantic keyboard player Jess would like to dedicate to his wife. This is called Dragons’. Then he realized what he’d said and covered his mouth. I don’t know if he made this dedication before the wrong song or whether it was an in-joke, but it was still funny.

Paddy strangely said that the band had never recorded the song Dragons but I’m positive it is on one of the Andromeda cd singles.

Then came the synth intro to Appetite and everyone screamed. The first set concluded with Life of Surprises and the band left the stage to wild applause.

“30 minutes later they were back, Paddy still wearing his leather jacket. “There are some famous people here tonight” he announced. ‘We saw Britney Spears’ bike outside, someone was fixing her stabilizers’. Second funniest moment of the night. A sly dig at theaverage age of today’s pop stars, or just a joke? Who knows?!

“‘This is a song I wrote about The Beatles’. Electric Guitars followed. Not one of my favourite songs but it does contain one of my (many) fave Prefab lyrics ‘ … we were quoted out of context – it was great’. Cars and Girls immediately followed, the crowd went wild.

“Next was the only Prefab song I’ve never heard before, ‘I’m a troubled man’ which was excellent and went down very well. Carnival 2000 was next, with a surprisingly down-beat vocal from Paddy. I thought he was saving the high notes for the final chorus but he stayed in a lower tone throughout the whole song. This song should have been on the radio more in January: it is slightly better than Will Smith’s “Will2K” that dominated the airwaves at the time don’tyathink?!

“‘I’d like to play a song from Steve McQueen’ said Paddy followed by screams and someone strangely shouting ‘Jesse James!’. He obligingly played the riff from the song but soon stopped and said “I’m too old to play that riff now, I could do some damage to myself”

“‘Moving the River’ was next which sounded really great – one of the highlights of the night for me. Then came Hey Manhattan which Paddy said he would try to attempt without the orchestra. I’m sure Jess went out of tune at the end as Paddy went up to him and said something but he played the same part again the same way so I might have just imagined it. Jess’ playing was immaculate throughout and the mix was just right, although I thought Paddy’s guitar could have been mixed a little higher as it was sometimes drowned out by the bass and drums.

“Next was the final song of the night from Swoon, ‘Cruel’. Martin and Neil then walked off stage and Paddy introduced another old
song, “One of the first songs we ever wrote” he said – ‘Lions in my Own Garden’ played excellently by just Paddy and Jess. After Martin and Neil returned Paddy walked over to the small synth in front of Martin and played a gorgeous version of ‘Swans’. ‘One of the Broken’ came next, with a great addition of a tinkling keyboard riff from Jess during the talking parts which isn’t on the album version.

“At the first bar of ‘When Love Breaks Down’ we all went crazy and were treated to a fantastic rendition of one of the bands finest moments, and the song that first got me interested in the band, leading to the all-important purchase of Steve McQueen. Before we had chance to recover the band went straight into Goodbye Lucille #1 (Johnny Johnny) and we just kept on moving. The final song of the set was Paddy’s own more uptempo version of Cowboy Dreams which I preferred to Jimmy Nail’s version. That was unusual because I usually prefer the first version I hear of a song.

“Off the band went, and we didn’t stop shouting, stamping and clapping until they returned. The chugging beat of ‘Looking for Atlantis’ greeted us, followed by a gorgeous solo rendition of Where the Heart Is. Even though it has already been released, if it gets Paddy and Prefab back into the public eye again it can’t be bad. The final song was the one I was hoping for, Prisoner of the Past, my favourite song from Andromeda. Neil let his sticks fly off the drums and into the air at the end and they were off to rapturous applause.

“The only surprising omission from the set was ‘The King of Rock and Roll’ which perhaps shows Paddy’s feelings for the song now. I must admit it isn’t my favourite song of theirs. As Paul McCartney said to Paddy a few years ago, “It’s your ‘My ding-a-ling’ isn’t it”.

“Please let us have some new material soon guys. And don’t wait until your beard is down to the ground before you’re back Paddy!”

stuartellershaw, zorrophonic mailing list

s131“I midten af 90’erne introducerede min bror, Bjarne Jørgensen, mig for Prefab Sprout.
“Han havde været fan siden midten af 80’erne – havde alle Cd’erne – og havde været til koncert ‘Copenhagen: December, 1990’
“Ja, ja – jeg hørte da efter, men det var først i slutningen af 90’erne at jeg begyndte at lytte – og så blev jeg ramt: ret alvorligt.
“Da Prefab Sprout annoncerede koncertturné i 2000 var der ingen tvivl: jeg inviterede brormand og mig selv til koncert: ‘Shepherds Bush Empire: April 13th 2000’
“Først under koncerten slog det mig, hvor unik en person Paddy egentlig er: komponist, forfatter, guitarist og sanger – i et og samme individ. Gud havde en god dag den dag.
“Efter koncerten ventede bror og jeg ved sideindgangen – vi ville møde Paddy – og efter 1½ time kom Paddy og Martin ud. Vi fik en god samtale med dem – og de tog sig tid til at skrive et par autografer – bl.a. på min billet.
“Husker jeg mon April 13th 2000? I Remember That”
Michael Milo Jørgensen, Denmark

shep13 sbticket (1)


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