Warwick Arts Centre, University of Warwick: April 1st 2000

warwick-arts-centreSet 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 – very good to excellent audience tape recorded onto cassette. Couldn’t Bear to be Special is chopped in two by a tape flip, and a very short section of When Love Breaks Down is missing for the same reason.

“I only saw them once..at Warwick Arts Centre in 2000 (i think, it could have been 99 as well, my memory is not what it was!) it was just incredible and I remember thinking they sounded better than on their recordings, which surprised me. There was obviously no Wendy which was disappointing, but Neil was good and Jess Bailey was impressive, Paddy seemed on good form and for someone who professes to dislike touring he did a good impression of someone enjoying themself. Again I don’t know if its my memory playing tricks on me but I seem to recall him asking someone in the audience to stop smoking as it would affect his eyes…or maybe i’ve dreamt that! Anyway it was a v special evening and i’d love to see them live once more”

mHz, sproutnet discussion board

“To say the 1990s was a quiet decade for Prefab Sprout is a bit like saying that Hitler had his work cut out in the 40s. Two compilation albums and 1997’s Andromeda Heights are all the band have to show for the last ten years (though Paddy McAloon contributed heavily to Jimmy Nail’s Crocodile Shoes project) and by the end of this tour they’ll virtually have played as many gigs in this decade as they did in the last.

“Something of a tragedy as it turns out, because on the strength of this outing they’ve lost nothing of the old magic. McAloon might now resemble a cross between David Puttnam and Crosby, but his voice remains as angelic as ever, and around him his band mates – sadly minus new parent Wendy Smith – revelled in an opportunity to show off their chops once more.

“Not that there was any showboating, the creation of a gentle mood far more in keeping with McAloon’s sumptuous melodies, and there were moments (notably during If You Don’t Love Me) when the vibe was more akin to the Fast Show’s jazz club than a superior quality pop show.

“And if McAloon occasionally forgot his own lyrics then it was only to be expected after a lay-off that the self-effacing Geordie attributed to the gargantuan length of 1990’s Jordan: The Comeback.

“The band’s best album was well represented in a set that also included virtually everything from the Life of Surprises compilation and did wonderful justice to the legacy of one of the UK’s most accomplished and under-rated songwriters.”

Steve Adams, Birmingham Post

“Prefab Sprout aren’t the type of band to keep to regular schedule; if the majority of bands haven’t put a new record out within 2-3 years, you wonder what has happened to them. Their last LP the ‘critically acclaimed’ “Andromeda Heights”, was released 7 years after it’s predecessor, the epic “Jordan, the Comeback”.

“So it will come as no surprise to you now, when I tell you that this is the Sprout’s first tour for TEN years, coinciding with the release of the new album, “Sleeping Rough”, and in part to promote the new single, the theme tune from the TV show “Where the Heart Is”.

“In that time, personnel has changed. The original line up of Paddy McAloon on vocals, brother Martin on Bass, Wendy Smith on Keyboards and Backing Vocals, and Paul Smith on Drums, ceased to exist when Paul Smith left the band around the time of the Best of Compilation “Life of Surprises”, to be replaced by Neil Conti. On this tour alone, Wendy Smith has been unable to take part due to maternal obligations; she recently had a baby, and is being temporarily replaced on this tour by Jess Bailey. 

“The band came out, with Paddy sporting a new look, which had comments raising from a refugee from the Dubliners to Captain Birdseye (personally I’d go for a cross between George Harrison and Gibbons or Hill from ZZ Top).

“The first song they played was “I remember that”, a subtle reference to the audience possibly, for not forgetting that they are still around, and offering a reward for keeping the faith.

“Paddy offered dark humour in his patter, making cynical references to Brittany Spears; “We were supposed to duet this song with Brittany Spears, but the stabilisers on her bicycle came off on the way here so…”, and Westlife, remarking that “Seasons in the Sun” pipped “Carnival 2000” as the song to ‘usher in the millennium’. The band was in jovial mood, as Paddy threatened to embark upon U2, and The Wurzels medleys, before thinking better of it.

“It came across that he was not only keeping the atmosphere light, but also having a pleasant dig at the number of un-talented artists riding high in the charts today. They themselves seemed rusty, with Jess Bailey hitting a few bum notes on the keyboards, Neil Conti starting to play the wrong song on the set list, and even Paddy forgetting the words to one of his songs, but these mistakes only helped in contributing to the dark humour of Paddy, and the light relief given to the audience.

“Apart from the new single, “Where the Heart Is”, no new material was played; Paddy preferring to play the songs the fans knew and loved, the songs that struck an emotional chord in your heart, the songs that would serve you perfectly, sitting by the sea front at 3 in the morning (or 4, depending on if your listening to ‘Faron Young’)

“References were also made to his heroes and icons; The Beatles in “Electric Guitars”, Bruce Springsteen in “Cars and Girls”, God in “The sound of Crying”, and although not played tonight, Elvis in “The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll”

“All the classics were played and the themes were clearly evident; the different points of view when a relationship has broken down, “When love breaks down, Cruel, Goodbye Lucille (Johnny Johnny), Life of Surprises” the differences of opinion relating to searching for a Utopia “Cars and Girls, Looking for Atlantis, Lions in My Garden, Jordan: The Comeback”, with the final song of encore illustrating the plight of so many talented bands of previous years which have not been publicly accepted with changes in fashion “Prisoner of the Past”.

“Even with a lot of songs stripped down compared to their recorded versions; the band sounding wonderful, and this rarity proved to be a night to remember!

“Don’t stay away too long next time, Paddy.”

Craig Aston

One thought

  1. Hi , I was at the Warwick gig also back 15 years ago today , just so pleased to see prefab sprout live and what a performance it was , wish so much we could all again see paddy in live performance 2015 , thank you for all your updates and archive info , keep up your amazing work it is very much appreciated ,cheers paul .

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