Gig Review by Nic Jones with Photography by James Bissett

Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott

Summer In The City, a series of gigs at the Castlefield Bowl in Manchester, is definitely about offering variety. Kicking off with soulful Paolo Nutini and featuring Britpop-indie legends The Charlatans, sandwiched neatly in the middle is the reunited Beautiful South duo Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott.

Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott

Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott

Friday evening at the Bowl has brought out a lively and well spirited crowd, no surprise considering the success of Heaton and Abbott’s reunion and the long standing love-affair many fans have had with the music of the Beautiful South. Kicking off with ‘Just a Few Things That I Ain’t’ and ‘Pretenders to the Throne’ they receive a very warm welcome from the jubilant Manchester crowd, and the evening just continues to get better and better.

Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott

Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott

On stage Heaton and Abbott exude a quirky charm and what becomes clear very quickly is the pure amount of strong material they have to perform. It’s pretty cool to hear classics like ‘Rotterdam (Or Anywhere)’, ‘Don’t Marry Her’ and ‘Perfect 10’ live, and the audience absolutely lap it up. Abbott’s voice still has that velvety rich feel to it, and it harmonises effortlessly with Heaton’s smooth vocals.

Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott

Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott

By the end of the lengthy set and encore, it’s hard to find a person in the Bowl without a smile on their face. Heaton and Abbott’s show is perfect entertainment for a summer’s evening in Manchester and by the reception they received I’m pretty sure they’d be welcome back any time.

Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott

Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott

Set List: Just a Few Things That I Ain’t / Pretenders to the Throne / Some Dancing to Do / Austerity of Love / One Last Love Song / Costa Del Sombre / Rotterdam (Or Anywhere) / Prettiest Eyes / Heatongrad / Dream a Little Dream of Me / Everybody’s Talking / Five Get Over Excited / Old Red Eyes Is Back / Good as Gold (Stupid as Mud) / D.I.Y. / Don’t Marry Her / Me and the Farmer / Let Love Speak Up Itself

Encore: You Keep It All In / Happy Hour / Perfect 10 / Caravan of Love

Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott

Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott

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