Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbot @ Liverpool's Echo Arena

Over ten thousand people filled out Liverpool’s Echo Arena for what can only be described as a rather tremendous ‘sing-song’ led by the Northern pop-rock maestros formerly of the Beautiful South, Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott! 

The pair seemed to be enjoying themselves as much as ever with the way they owned the stage, belting out a mixture of songs from  their summer release, ‘Crooked Calypso’, old Beautiful South classics and even a few Housemartins covers from Paul’s other previous musical engagement.

Bold and oozing confidence from the start, seasoned performers Paul and Jacqui opened with one of their recent album tracks, ‘The Lord Is A White Con’ which is a very catchy number featuring textbook harmonies typical of the duo. After that pleasant start to the evening followed a tune from their 2014 record,  ‘What Have We Become?’ titled ‘Moulding Of A Fool’ which is a cleverly crafted song about people feeling forced to conform to the ‘norms’ of society, but with Paul Heaton’s signature sense of realism shining right through. 

With a set consisting of twenty four songs, the band’s dedicated fanbase in attendance on the night certainly got their money’s worth! Crowd favourites, ‘Rotterdam (Or Anywhere)’, ‘Don’t Marry Her’, and ‘I’ll Sail This Ship Alone’ were met with the significant enthusiasm that could be expected. 

All of the five tracks played from ‘Crooked Calypso’ were thoroughly enjoyable, containing memorable lyrics that are sincere yet comical and most certainly heart-warming that have been ever-present throughout Paul’s career and the album as a whole is well worth 44 minutes of anybody’s time! 

When it came to the encore the iconic Beautiful South singles, ‘A Little Time’ and ‘Song For Whoever’ were greeted with a brilliant reception. They were performed either side of the fun Housemartins masterpiece ‘Happy Hour’ and their legendary Isley Jasper Isley cover of ‘Caravan Of Love’, seeing every soul inside the venue belting their hearts out! Paul and Jacqui’s voices appear to be still in brilliant working order and they can still create the same uniquely brilliant sound reminiscent of preceding years. 

Paul and Jacqui are probably not artists that would roll off the tongues of many people of my age range if questioned on their favourite musicians (which is a great travesty, by the way) but by putting on shows like this one and releasing records of the standard they are still producing after all these years,  that is something that may change! It certainly won’t be long until I’m attending another concert headlined by the pair, and I wish them good luck for their huge gigs at Delamere Forest and Manchester’s Castlefield Bowl next summer, not that they’ll be needing it! 

By James Stewart