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Rollmo! No. 05

Sue Dyer Reports:

Rollmo! # 05The four gigs Bedfords, Dave and I attended were Edinburgh, Glasgow, Newcastle and Sheffield.
They all followed this set list:
Michael, Appetite, I Remember That, Moving the River, Machine Gun Ibiza, We let the Stars Go, Bonny, Faron Young, Nightingales, Hey Manhattan, One of the Broken, Wild Horses, Jordan: The Comeback, Couldn't Bear to be Special, Johnny Johnny, Golden Calf, Looking for Atlantis, Moondog, Kind of Rock and Roll.
The first encore was Cruel then Cars and Girls.
Second encore was When Love Breaks Down then Doo Wop in Harlem.
It was the culmination of months of planning and waiting for us when the lights revealed Prefab Sprout on stage at Edinburgh Playhouse. Paddy, who was dressed in black trousers, white shirt and black waistcoat, gave a slightly shaky delivery of "Michael". He did seem nervous and the vocal tense, however this wasn't the case at the other venues where the vocal was more relaxed. The only other criticism I can offer is the run through of "Michael" into "Appetite". Maybe I'm just too used to the flow of "Bonny" then "Appetite" from "Steve McQueen".
The atmosphere varied at the gigs. The Edinburgh audience remained seated until just before "Faron", in fact Paddy offered to come down and sell King Cones and Mivis to us! Glasgow Barrowlands is standing only and it's always very, very hot in there. This gig did seemed to be a bit rushed, probably due to the extreme heat the band were experiencing. The Newcastle gig, what I can say? Prefab Sprout: The Comeback, and couldn't you tell the guys were on home ground. One number was preceeded by Paddy asking "Is there anyone here from Memphis?" (No answer) then "Is there anyone here from Langley Park", the answering yells were rewarded with, "Well, this one is for you". Bedford summed this gig of the tour commented on the sheer precision of it. Sheffield was the weakest gig of the four to me. The atmosphere looked guaranteed as there was a crush down front even before the Sprouts hit the stage, but there wasn't as much reaction from the crowd during this gig.
The band, especially Martin seemed to really enjoy the gigs. Wendy looked great during all four gigs. She wore neat black pants and cropped jacked for the first gigs, then at Sheffield she wore white leggins and a short white dress. Neil was accompanied on percussion by Karlos Edwards who also performed backing vocals and was the voice of God during "One of the Broken". Paul Harvey on guitar and Jess Bailey, keyboards completed the line up.
My personal highlight of the gig was "Moondog". I loved the effect the strobe lights gave and the introduction by Paddy. I heard slightly different ones each night, but the two I remember were about the year 2050 and the USS Priscilla, then the other was USS Numan finding a tin of brilliantine and aviator shades on the moon. There were also Gary Numan references at Newcastle when Paddy asked before "Faron Young", "Are riffs electric? Another favourite moment was Edinburgh when Paddy jumped from the stage and walked around the audience singing "King of Rock and Roll". Perhaps the best thing about this was the total amazement of the rest of the band faces. Paddy may have had the idea for this when earlier on he referred to his radio mic and said it would "add mobility and increase my stage sexuality!"
Well, there were individual touches in the gigs, altered lyrics. Edinburgh was "Just to think the Trashcans live here too". Newcastle was "You never fleet of foot, Smithy". Glasgow, "Lesson two is Neneh Cherry" and my favourite at Sheffield, "Hot dog, jumping frog, Albert Tatlock!" All four gigs were brilliant and in answer to the music press critics who wondered if the Sprouts could cope after a long break from touring and reproduce such complex material live, the answer is most emphatically - Yes!
Sue Dyer