Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott review: Atmospheric, relaxed and magical
PUBLISHED: 11:52 10 June 2018
Blanc Photography 2013
It was fitting that Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott shared a stage with support act Billy Bragg - it was, after all, Bragg who was instrumental in getting The Housemartins signed by Go Discs back in the 1980s, a fact warmly acknowledged by Heaton.
It was fitting that Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott shared a stage with support act Billy Bragg – it was, after all, Bragg who was instrumental in getting The Housemartins signed by Go Discs back in the 1980s, a fact warmly acknowledged by Heaton.
MORE: “We danced the night away”: Gary Barlow at Thetford Forest review
I love Billy Bragg (he delivered me my first ever published newspaper article and a husband) so it was a treat to see him play under a canopy of trees – albeit in light drizzle. It was the best performance I’ve seen from him in years (and we first saw him at UEA in 1986, so there are plenty to choose from).
After Bragg’s pared-down set, Heaton and Abbott exploded on stage with their fabulous band and gave us an Opening Sermon which swiftly led to an order of service that helped us remember just how majestic and immense Heaton’s song canon is.
The Lord is a White Con. Rotterdam. Five Get Over Excited. Liars Bar. Don’t Marry Her. Caravan. Good as Gold. Some for Whoever. Perfect Ten. You Keep it all In. A Little Time…Best-of lists don’t get much better and the newer tracks from Crooked Calypso more than hold their own against the sing-along classics.
MORE: The Script review: A top class performance that pays testament to their years of experience
Fabulously, the pair played my very favourite of all: Sail This Ship Alone, the song that has steered endless broken hearts through the sharks and the treasure.
Between songs and amid legions of fans of a certain vintage (ahem) Heaton mused about life, the universe and everything: “I prefer the more cultured southern crowd,” the northerner claimed, tongue firmly in cheek. Bet he didn’t say that in Delamere Forest…
And on that note, there was another star to contend with: Thetford Forest itself – what a venue it is; atmospheric, relaxed, magical (thumbs up to the staff, too, who were faultlessly efficient and polite).
I am a sucker for clever lyricists and at this Forest Live gig there were two for the price of one: the only thing I could have done without was my persistent moth stalker, although to be fair, the moth was there first.
·The concert was part of the Forestry Commission’s Forest Live concert series.