Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott at Colston Hall, Bristol (Gig Review)

Review of Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott gig at Colston Hall, Bristol

Paul Heaton in Bristol

Paul Heaton in Bristol

Some bands you can chart your life by, when you started comp (Happy Hour), left school (A little time), did your first radio show (Rotterdam).That band was the Beautiful South and now after a hiatus and a successful “debut” in 2014, Paul and Jacqui return touring their second album, Wisdom, Laughter and Lines.

Having seen them on that debut tour in 2014 and to be honest, I’d class it as a one of the best I’d seen, how would this night in Colston Hall in Bristol fair?

Firstly, let’s not talk about the support. I’m one of those people who come to gigs early just to check out the support – and get my money’s worth. Having seen Wolf Alice, The Killers and Jack Garratt as support bands- well, as I said, let’s not talk about the support. Good boys but you get the feeling it was the wrong crowd

Jacqui Abbott in Bristol

Jacqui Abbott in Bristol

Anyway, to the main act

The first thing you realise is even if you’re not a massive fan, how many songs you’ll know. Back in the late 90s, the album Blue is the colour spawned two of the most played radio airplay songs – Rotterdam and Don’t Marry Her (albeit the clean radio version – not the album version that Ken Bruce once played at 935am). Then here’s also Perfect 10, A little time and Happy Hour. Back catalogue withstanding, the performance of Jacqueline and Paul was faultless. Neither are show ponies in the Buble sense, but both have such distinctive voices you just need to close your eyes and be transported back to a younger age.

Both are very personable on stage, Paul even does Dad dancing – much to his daughters distain (that’s okay Paul, it’s your role in life).

After having seen them a couple of years ago I definitely notice a more confident performance. Now you may think this review is slightly biased since I’ve got a huge love of their back catalogue… Well, maybe. Needless to say if you’re a fan in anyway shape or form you will love them live. If you’re not a fan (having been dragged along by your other half), you might just be a convert by the end of the night.


1. Wives 1, 2 & 3

2. Pretenders to the Throne

3. (Man Is) The Biggest Bitch of All

4. Have Fun

5. The Horse and Groom

6. Five Get Over Excited

7. Prettiest Eyes

8. Sundial In the Shade

9. The Queen of Soho

10. Old Red Eyes Is Back

11. I Don’t See Them

12. Anxious

13. Rotterdam (Or Anywhere)

14. I’ll Sail This Ship Alone

15. The Austerity of Love

16. Good as Gold (Stupid as Mud)

17. D.I.Y.

18. Happy Hour

19. Perfect 10

20. Encore:

21. A Little Time

22. Don’t Marry Her

23. Encore 2:

24. Heatongrad

25. You Keep It All In

Review by Patrick Downes

Twitter: @ImPatrickDownes


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