The Ultimate Prefab Sprout Gigography


Information, pictures and anecdotes gratefully received. Also interested in live recordings not listed or early generation audio sourced copies of recordings that are referenced. Contact me here

Note that denotes audio content at the link, and 🎞 denotes video

Early dates

Paddy played concerts with Peter McLoughlin when they were 12 or 13. Mark Francis Tully recalls Paddy and Tony Coyle singing the Beatle’s “She’s Leaving Home” at a Christmas concert at St Joseph’s College, Upholland.

Paddy McAloon perfomed with Tony Coyle as part of a duo and sometime trio known as “The Doubles” and also as a band at University known as the “Happy Alberts”

(As “Avalon“)

Avalon line up was Tony Coyle, Vocals; Paddy McAloon, Guitar; Leo McCabe, Guitar and Bass; Roy McCalvey, Bass; Johnny Darmo, Drums

Sunday Nights, Bay Hotel, Cullercoats
Prudhoe Hospital

Unknown Dates
The earliest incarnation of Prefab Sprout was Paddy and Martin McAloon, with Mick Salmon on drums

St Leonards RC School Sixth Form Dinner Dance

“Ill-matched gigs were a feature of that post-punk era. I once saw Prefab Sprout supporting NWOBHM’s Samson in Durham, and Paddy McAloon was hit on the head by a cooking apple thrown by a local rock fan whom we just knew as ‘Reggie Mental’. ‘Reggie’s down the front’ someone muttered before the gig even started. ‘Has he got his cookers with him?’ ‘Yes’ At that point, we all knew that trouble was inevitable…” – Andy Darling quoted from a comment in the Guardian online.

Honeysuckle Pub on Coatsworth Road. Gateshead

“Saw The Eastside Torpedoes with Bren Healey, Toy Dolls, Prefab Sprout” – Kenny Eddy, NE Music Group, Facebook


Rixy’s Nightclub, Durham City
Castle Inn, Durham
Spectro Arts Lab Newcastle (Supporting Dem-Cox)
January 30th: Brewer’s Arms, Gilesgate Bank, Durham
February 9th: Dunelm House, University of Durham, supporting the Revillos
February 16th: Dunelm House, University of Durham, supporting the Members
June 29th: Durham Domefest
July 2nd: Brewer’s Arms, Gilesgate Bank, Durham
September 6th: St Joseph’s Parish Hall, Langley Park
October 8th: Brewer’s Arms, Gilesgate Bank, Durham
October 15th: Brewer’s Arms, Gilesgate Bank, Durham
October 22nd: Brewer’s Arms, Gilesgate Bank, Durham (NME 18/10)
October 25th: Kings Head, Stanley (NME 25/10)
November 4th: Brewers Arms, Gilesgate Bank, Durham (NME 1/11)
November 18th : Brewers Arms, Gilesgate Bank Durham (NME 15/11)
November 19th: Brewers Arms, Gilesgate Bank, Durham
November 25th: Brewers Arms, Gilesgate Bank, Durham
December 6th : Langley Park St Joseph’s Parish Hall (NME 6/12)
December 11th: Durham Q Ball Club (NME 13/12)
December 16th: Brewer’s Arms, Gilesgate Bank, Durham (NME 13/12)


March 27th: Newcastle Spectro Arts Lab, with Green Eyed Children (later to become Hurrah!) (NME 28/3)
March 28th: Newcastle Spectro Arts Lab (NME 28/3)
April: Tom Minney’s Party
May 7th: Newcastle Spectro Arts Lab (NME 9/5)
June 18th: Newcastle Balmbra’s, with Reptile House (NME 20/6)
July 21st: Jesmond, The Lonsdale (NME 18/7)
June 25th: Brewer’s Arms, Gilesgate Bank, Durham.
August 11th: Jesmond, The Lonsdale (NME 8/8)
September 7th: Annabels, Sunderland
October: Le Metro, Sunderland
October 24th: Green Machine Disco, Dunelm House, Durham University, supporting Punching Holes


Wendy Smith started performing at live dates about February 1982

January 6th: Washington Biddick, Farm Arts Centre
August 26th: The Soul Kitchen, Newcastle


March 17th: Night Moves, Glasgow, supporting Aztec Camera. The Kingfishers were also on the bill
March 18th: Edinburgh University, supporting Aztec Camera. (NME 19/3)
March 24th: Newcastle Soul Cellar at Grey’s Club (NME 26/3)
March 31st: Newcastle Soul Cellar at Grey’s Club (NME 2/4)

April 16th: Darlington Arts Centre
June 29th: El Hacienda, Tiffany’s, Newcastle

Michael Salmon left the band about July 1983. A Spinal Tapesque succession of drummers followed, including Daniel James (pseudonym for Graham Lant), Steve Dolder, Louis Connolly, David Ruffy and others, with Graham Lant being employed on the Swoon recordings and some gigs around this period including El Hacienda and Liverpool Poly.

November 30th: University of Keele Student’s Union
December 7th: Liverpool Polytechnic
December 11th: Candy Club, Lorne Hotel, Sauciehall Street, Glasgow
December 12th: Monday Club, Newcastle
December 15th: Sunday Drum Club, Sunderland
December 19th: Birmingham Odeon supporting Elvis Costello and the Attractions
Wednesday 21st December: HMV Hammersmith Odeon supporting Elvis Costello and the Attractions
Thursday 22nd December (early and late shows): HMV Hammersmith Odeon supporting Elvis Costello and the Attractions


The “New Way of Life” Tour

January 4th: Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) with Hurrah! and the Daintees
January 17th: Reading University
January 18th: Goldsmith College, London
January 19th: Kingston Polytechnic, London

By this time David Ruffy had joined as a regular drummer for live dates

January 20th: Kings College, London
January 21st: Brunel University
January 25th: Hacienda, Manchester with the Daintees
January 27th: Birmingham University
January 28th: Alcuin (University of York) with the Daintees
February 8th: Leicester Polytechnic (Arena) with the Daintees
February 9th: London Savoy at the Boston with Hurrah! and the Daintees
February 10th: Manchester University (announced at Hacienda gig, seems unlikely from geography of preceding and next shows)
February 11th: Portsmouth Polytechnic
February 13th: Upstairs at Erics, Bournemouth
February 24th: Night Moves, Glasgow
February 25th: Nite Club, Edinburgh
February 26th: Dance Factory Dundee
March 17th (broadcast): Saturday Live Session

“Jono” comments that there was a gig at the Derby Blue Note to support Swoon, which was packed, about 250 people, and which was filmed, the band having to come out onto the stage twice because of an underwhelming response to the first appearance.

All dates between April 27 to May 18 include Hurrah! as special guests except Belfast.

March 1984: “Swoon” released. The lineup for successive dates included Virginia Astley of the Ravishing Beauties, with Neil Conti on drums. Virginia didn’t play all the dates because of prior commitments.

UK and Ireland Tour:

April 27th: The Buttery, Trinity College, Dublin
April 28th: McMordie Hall, Queen’s University Belfast (Supporting the Paul Brady Band)
May 3rd: Hacienda, Manchester
May 4th: Lancaster University
May 5th: Mountford Hall, Liverpool University
May 7th: Lyceum London
May 8th: Leadmill, Sheffield
May 9th: Victoria Hall, Hanley
May 10th: Polytechnic, Leeds
May 12th: Essex University Students’ Union
May 13th: Studio, Bristol
May 14th: Upstairs at Eric’s, Bournemouth
May 15th: Rock City, Nottingham
May 16th: Birmingham Odeon
May 17th: Mayfair, Newcastle
May 19th: University, East Anglia

German Tour:

May 21st: Cooky’s, Frankfurt
May 22nd: Luxor, Koln
May 23rd: Musiktheater Bad, Hannover
May 24th: KIR, Hamburg
May 25th: Odeon, Munster
May 26th: Loft im Metropol, Berlin
May 27th: Alter Bahnhof, Hof, Germany
May 28th: Media-Werkstatt, Stuttgart

Festival Dates:

May 31st: Pallieterhall Lier, Belgium
June 1st: Brielpoort, Deinze, Belgium
July 27-29th: Elephant Fayre, Port Eliot Estate, Cornwall


The “Great Escape” Tour:

June 1985: “Steve McQueen” released. Virginia Astley left the live lineup at this point, being replaced by Michael Graves, and Kevin Armstrong joined on guitar, leading to a much harder edged rock sound.

July 16th: Triangle Arts Centre, Birmingham
July 17th: Manchester International
July 18th: Leeds Warehouse
July 19th: Porterhouse, Retford
July 20th: Leadmill, Sheffield
July 21st: Underground, Croydon
July 22nd: Dominion Theatre, London
July 27th: Saturday Live Session
August 7th (Broadcast 23rd October): Hold Tight, Alton Towers 🎞
August 18th: John Peel Session, Maida Vale
August 23rd (Broadcast): Bliss Channel 4 🎞
August 24th (Broadcast): Graham Bannerman Session

Piccadilly Radio Session around this date – referenced in Acrylic Daze Fanzine.

The “Two Wheels Good” tour:

Kevin Armstrong had left the live lineup by this point but was not replaced. Wendy was absent for a considerable number of early dates, between at least October 19th and 31st. She had laryngitis. Dates where she was confirmed absent are noted below, noting she was pretty much certainly absent for the dates in between! Hurrah! were almost certainly the support throughout: noted in a couple of places were they were confirmed as playing.

UK Tour:

October 17th: Ritzy, Aberdeen
October 18th: Dundee University
October 19th: Queen Margaret Union, Glasgow (without Wendy who was sick)
October 21st: Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh (switched from Coasters, and without Wendy who was sick)
October 22nd: Newcastle City Hall (without Wendy who was sick)
October 23rd: Rock City Nottingham (without Wendy who was sick)
October 24th: Leicester University (without Wendy who was sick)
October 26th: Salford University (without Wendy who was sick)
October 27th: Liverpool Mountford Hall (without Wendy who was sick)
October 28th: Powerhouse, Birmingham (without Wendy who was sick)
October 29th: Sheffield University (without Wendy who was sick)
October 30th: Victoria Hall, Hanley
October 31st: Warwick University (without Wendy who was sick)
November 2nd: Refectory, University of Leeds
November 3rd: Norwich LEA with Hurrah!
November 4th: Oxford (may have been rearranged to the 15th)
November 6th: Guildhall, Portsmouth
November 7th: Cardiff University with Hurrah!
November 8th: Gloucester Arts College
November 9th: Essex University
November 11th: Top Rank, Brighton
November 12th: Studio, Bristol
November 13th: Exeter
November 14th: Coliseum, St Austell, Cornwall
November 15th: Apollo, Oxford
November 16th: University of Reading 
November 18th: Hammersmith Palais

European Tour:

December 2nd: Alabamahalle, Munich, Germany 🎞
December 3rd: Lyon, Salle Moliere, France
December 5th: Eldorado, Paris (Moved from Le Palace)
December 6th: Rouen-Exo 7, France
December 8th: Vredenburg Hall, Utrecht, Holland
December 9th: Noordersingel, Borgerhout, Belgium
December 10th (broadcast): Old Grey Whistle Test 🎞
December 11th: Mannheim, Germany
December 12th: Frankfurt,Germany
December 13th: Fabrik, Hamburg, Germany

Listings for dates on the 15th in Hannover and 16th in Bochum were printed in a German magazine, but were replaced with Scandinavian concerts

December 15th: Errol’s, Gothenburg, Sweden
December 16th: Circus, Oslo, Norway
December 18th: Ghetto, Stockholm, Sweden


January 31st: ‘Red Wedge Tour’, Newcastle City Hall
February 8th (Broadcast): The Tube Channel 4  ♫🎞
February 18th: Milan Rolling Stone, Italy 
February 20th: Camelot, Bari, Italy
February 21st: Teatrotenda Partenope,Naples, Italy
February 22nd: Rome, Italy
February 24th: Padua, Italy
February 25th: Bologna, Italy
February 26th: Teatro Tenda, Florence, Italy
February 27th: (originally scheduled for the 17th): Teatro Colosseo, Torino, Italy
March 5th: Hammersmith Odeon, London 

Gary Hughes joined the line up for the Japanese dates, standing in for Michael Graves who was not available.

July 2nd: Kousei Nenkin Hall, Tokyo, Japan
July 7th: Osaka, Japan


March 1988: “From Langley Park to Memphis” released

July 4th: KCRW Interview with brief solo performance


January: Midem Festival, Cannes, France

February 19th: Brixton Academy (broadcast March 19th) 🎞
March 1st (Broadcast): The Hippodrome Show 🎞

June 1989: “Protest Songs” released


August 1990: “Jordan the Comeback” released. Joining the core band of Paddy, Martin, Wendy and Neil for the tour were Jess Bailey on keyboards, Paul Harvey on guitar, and Karlos Edwards on percussion.

UK Tour:

October 5th: Portsmouth Guildhall
October 6th: Birmingham AVLC
October 7th: Cardiff, St. Davids Hall
October 9th: Cambridge Corn Exchange
October 10th: Bradford, St George’s Hall
October 12th: Edinburgh Playhouse
October 13th: Barrowland Ballroom,Glasgow
October 14th: Newcastle City Hall
October 15th: Sheffield City Hall
October 17th: Manchester Apollo
October 18th: Nottingham Royal Concert Hall
October 19th: Liverpool Royal Court
October 21st: Oxford Apollo
October 22nd: HMV Hammersmith Odeon , London, with Trash Can Sinatras
October 23rd: HMV Hammersmith Odeon , London, with Trash Can Sinatras

European Tour:

November 14th: Amsterdam
November 16th: Nighttown Rotterdam 
November 18th: Modena, Italy
November 19th: Teatro Olimpico, Rome
November 20th: Teatro Orfeo, Milan, Italy
November 22nd: Rockstore Odeon, Montpellier, France
November 23rd: Palau d’Esports de Montjuic, Barcelona, Spain
November 24th: Pabellon de Real Madrid, Madrid
November 26th: Lyon, France
November 27th: La Cigale, Paris
November 28th: La Cigale, Paris
November 30th: Vooruit, Gent, Belgium
December 2nd: Copenhagen, Denmark
December 4th: Rockgarden, Gothenberg, Sweden
December 5th: Daily’s Melody, Stockholm, Sweden
December 6th: Kjellern Chateau Neuf, Oslo, Norway
December 8th: Maysfield Leisure Centre, Belfast
December 9th: Dublin, The Point Depot


February 5th: BBC2 Late show performance. 🎞
March 16th: Ricard Festival, le Zenith, Paris
September 24th (Broadcast October 20th): An Eye on the Music” , Paddy McAloon with Jimmy Webb 🎞


May 1997: “Andromeda Heights” released


The 2000 tour saw Wendy leave the band, and a stripped down line up with Jess Bailey on keyboards joining the three remaining core members.

March 30th: Nottingham Royal Centre
March 31st: Bristol Colston Hall 
April 1st: Warwick Arts Centre, University of Warwick
April 3rd: Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
April 4th: Philharmonic Hall Liverpool
April 5th: Corn Exchange, Cambridge
April 6th: Southampton Guildhall
April 8th: Newcastle City Hall 
April 9th: Leeds Town and Country Club
April 11th: Manchester Bridgewater Hall 
April 12th: London Shepherds Bush Empire
April 13th: London Shepherds Bush Empire
April 15th: Dublin Olympia Theatre, Eire
April 16th: Dublin Olympia Theatre, Eire
June 10th: Fleadh Festival, Finsbury Park, London ♫🎞


June 2001: “The Gunman and Other Stories” released


April 29th: PTA Fundraiser


December 18th: PTA Fundraiser


September 2009: “Lets Change the World with Music” released


October 2013: “Crimson/Red” released

Special thanks to Stewart for tons of information on early gigs, to Bob Edwards for help and information, and all those who’ve helped or pointed me at recordings and other material. Wouldn’t have been possible without you, guys, thanks.

22 thoughts

  1. 28th October 1985 show at Birmingham Powerhouse was also without Wendy. Still a great show. Cars and Girls was played nearly 3 years before its release!

  2. 1985 – TWG/SMcQ tour – Salford – Wendy didnt appear! Think I might have a recording somewhere! Will get back to you…

  3. I seem to recall that in the first half of 1984 I heard an announcer on BBC Radio Cleveland (now BBC Tees) announce that the band were to play an impromptu concert in Middlesbrough that night, at either Billy Paul’s or Madison Nightclub (I can’t remember which).

    Is my memory playing tricks on me, or did this really happen?

  4. EMSTRO is right. I was working at the Evening Gazette in Middlesbrough at the time and, for my sins, wrote the rock column every week. I got to see loads of bands for free and the promoters would often ring me and offer to put me on the guest list. One day a promoter called me up and said I had to see this band that night in a venue that i think was under the Mecca bingo hall. The band was called Prefab Sprout. The name struck me as so mad, I laughed and didn’t go! What a fool. I didn’t go! It’s a mistake I still think about 30 years later…

    Thanks for a great site. Paddy is a songwriting legend and it’s fantastic that you are collecting, curating and restoring his material in this way. Prefab Sprout fans do tend to be very passionate about their love of their music. RTE Radio once did a special on Paddy and the amount of people calling in to express their appreciation for the band was remarkable.

  5. I have only very recently discovered Prefab Sprout, but they are without a doubt one of my favorite bands. Is there a reason why they never toured the U.S?

    1. Mixture of Paddy not liking travel, not liking touring, and probably limited ticket sale prospects. They nearly toured the US in 1990 and dates were announced, but the cost of the show Paddy wanted to bring was prohibitive, and there were worries about the situation following the Gulf War.

  6. This is absolutely nuts! I’ve never seen such a well documentet gigography of such a relatively obscure band!
    I’m a 23 year old boy from Sweden (who obviously believes anything…) with a very strong, and maybe even a bit unhealthy, passion for this band. I don’t even know if I should thank or blame Admin for contributing this webpage, because ever since i discovered it, it’s been taking up all my time. I simply cannot get enough!
    But i guess i’m gonna go with a big ‘thank you!’ for all the hard work and the great initiative! This is indeed a big cultural achievement and i think I speak for all when i say i’m really happy for this treasure.
    Keep up the good work!

  7. Nov 1985 show at Leeds was in the larger Refectory, not Riley Smith. I was working as a steward that night and remember watching the sound check.

    1. Thanks – I’ll correct the entry. I think the Riley Smith suggestion came from a University source, I think there was some kind of pamphlet put out a few years ago about the bands who had played there. May have been the original booking too, as it sometimes happened there was a change to a bigger venue.

  8. I always believed I’d seen Prefab Sprout play at a Durham college ball in the summer of 1983 – a low key affair with them pretty much playing in a corridor.
    Googled to death and can’t find any mention of this happening. (It definitely wasn’t the ones mentioned at Dunhelm House.)

    1. Quite likely I think, they did a lot of that sort of thing from what I can gather. Do you remember if they were with Wendy at that point?

  9. I was at the Cardiff, St.Davids Hall show Oct 7th 1990.
    Fantastic performance from the Sprouts, but my over-riding memory is of when Paddy introduced ‘Nightingales’ and talked a little about Stevie Wonders contribution to the song.
    He was explaining that it was unfortunate that Stevie was unable to join them tonight, when someone in the audience, in a thick Welsh accent bellowed ‘He couldn’t find his way here..!!’
    Even Paddy had a little giggle at that one 🙂

  10. Hi,

    I’ve just started listening to your music again after many many years, and absolutely drowning in warm feelings of nostalgia, happy sadness and where I was/who with whilst listening to Steve McQueen and Memphis.

    Please tell me you are contemplating a tour sometime soon?


  11. Re the 1988 radio show mini set on KCRW (Santa Monica CA) — I find it extremely frustrating that at minimum Paddy alone came across the pond and did not do any other USA appearances– ever. It is conceivable I suppose that the whole KCRW show was taped in UK and sent over to the USA. Long live Prefab Sprout and their magical body of work.

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