Beautiful South in Plymouth
Wednesday 1st December 2004
Courtesy of Andrew Ralph
Available from The Bootlooker
The Beautiful South played to a packed house at the Plymouth Pavilions – BBC Devon’s Laura Joint was there.
It says something for a group’s hit list, when they reach the end of a concert and you’re left thinking: “Why didn’t they do…?”
After 90 minutes of the Beautiful South, I was left wanting more!
And so was the rest of the packed house at the Plymouth Pavilions, which had danced, swayed, and sung along to such classic lines as: “I love you from the bottom of my pencil case,” and “If she’s an XXL, well what the hell.”
Not to mention “Don’t marry her, **** me” and “36D – so what! Is that all you’ve got?”.
The Beautiful South have penned some of the best pop songs of the past 20 years, and they’re as English as fish and chips.
At 9.10pm, the lights went down and a cacophony of sound – horns, bells, and drums – filled the arena. Then the group strolled on: vocalists Alison Wheeler on the left, band leader Paul Heaton in the middle, and Dave Hemingway on the right of the stage.
Behind them were the musicians including a three-strong brass section which was fab.
Second song up was A Little Time, and everyone joined in (but why were Wheeler and Hemingway at opposite ends of the stage for this sparring song?).
Other oldies went down equally well: 36D, Old Red Eyes, Rotterdam, Don’t Marry Her, Perfect Ten, and my own favourite, One Last Love Song, which had everyone swaying along to!
Then there were the stunning cover versions from the Beautiful South’s latest CD, Golddiggas, Headnodders & Pholk Songs.
Among them, You’re the one that I Want (John and Olivia, eat your heart out) and S Club 7’s Don’t Stop Moving, which is positively menacing done the Beautiful South way.
These songs were also well received, as was Heaton’s revelation that he spent his summer holiday this year at Challaborough in the South Hams.
They didn’t say much though – they saved their energy for the singing and, in Heaton’s case, some pretty groovy dancing!
The audience joined in with the dancing for You Keep It All In, which was the last song before two encores.
There was still time for two more audience participation tracks – Song For Whoever and Good as Gold (Stupid as Mud), otherwise known as Carry on Regardless.
Perhaps the most amazing thing about the show was how perfectly the group sang live, especially Heaton. It was almost CD quality – great stuff.
The only letdown for me was that they didn’t they do Prettiest Eyes, but maybe that’s just me being greedy!