Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott returned to Belfast, a 4th concert since 2014, for a concert at The Limelight, a venue they last played in June 2014, with their last two Belfast concerts being in Ulster Hall.
It was billed as an early show, with Heaton and Abbot on stage just after 8.30pm. The crowd were ready for it, the venue packed as the support act took the stage.
Members of their backing band casually wandered onto the stage, with drums and keyboards kicking off proceedings. It looked like a false start as the crowd waited for Heaton and Abbott to appear, before they eventually appeared.
The crowd were clapping and and footstomping along, as they did for most of the concert.
Heaton stated that this was the 25th time he’d performed in Belfast, before clarifying that he just made that stat up, and didn’t actually know how many times he had performed there. He did comment that he preferred coming to Belfast in the 80s and 90s when nobody else did, commenting that the same people who were shocked at them visiting the city are now talking about how cool it is now.
As he introduced Old Red Eyes Is Back, he dedicated it to the people of Belfast.
He did also say that it was 30 years since he was first in Belfast, a Pearl Anniversary, and suggests that an appropriate present would be a Pearl Heaton CD.
We were treated to some forgotten Beautiful South classics such as Blackbird On The Wire and The Table. The Table is one of my favourite Beautiful South songs, but it didn’t chart that high due to it being the fourth single from Quench.
At the grand old age of 55, Heaton has passed his driving test, he proudly told the audience, at the fourth time of asking with only one minor. He then proceeded to introduce the backing band and Jacqui Abbott by what car they drive.
The reason why the introductions were taking place mid concert were that, according to Heaton, the tour had been jinxed so far. One of Jacqui Abbott’s friends fell in the shower and had to go to hospital, while the previous night was described as a disaster, but no reason was given why.
The previous night, they were doing a concert in Cork. So, if any Corkonians can fill me in, feel free to do so.
At the start of Rotterdam, Heaton disappeared as this was a song sung solely by Abbott, but he then reappeared to play harmonica at the end.
As with their previous gigs, we delved into Paul Heaton’s back catalogue with The Housemartins and The Beautiful South. With so many songs to choose from, it’s natural that people would be disappointed at not hearing all of their favourites.
Five Get Over Excited, You Keep It All In, Don’t Marry Her and Good As Gold were all on the setlist, that would have kept a lot of people happy.
We also got Perfect Ten, with disco style drums and guitar, allowing Heaton to show off his dad dancing. Abbott was also getting involved. I’m not sure what the woman version of dad dancing is. Mum moving?
It wasn’t planned, but it was a happy accident, but I ended up being surrounded by people who were shorter than me, meaning I got a clear view. Also, everyone in the crowd was so sound, footstomping and clapping away.
You don’t realise how much a dead on audience adds to the enjoyment of a concert until you’re at a concert and surrounded by shitebags.
Thankfully, this was shitebag free.
They were enjoying themselves so much, they lost track of time, and announced they didn’t have long left due to a curfew set by the venue. It was a nice set-up as Heaton asked what the time was, answering his own question that it was Happy Hour.
Because of this, there wasn’t going to be a long encore, just the one song. With only a little time left, it was perhaps apt that they played A Little Time, a country/rockabilly/boogie woogie version of it.
As they left the stage, Heaton told the crowd “See you soon”.
So, touring in 2018?
If so, hopefully, someone from Belsonic is getting ready to book them. I quite fancy a bit of toetapping in the sunshine at Ormeau Park next June.
Ok, sunshine in June in Belfast is a bit ambitous.
Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott live at Ulster Hall 2016
Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott live at The Limelight 2014