T’Pau - Brannigans, Ipswich - 23rd September 1998
Unlike earlier tours where I would have been to dozens by now, this was my first show of the "RED" tour - in fact this is the first time since the 1/5 tour that I have not been present at the first night - I must be getting older !!!
As Brannigans is a nightclub that has live music to entertain its members, it is impossible to tell how many people came specifically to see T’Pau and how many would have been there in any case but the dance floor in front of the stage was filled to capacity when T’Pau hit the stage at 9.30 to the sound of the theme from ‘Thunderbirds’ (I wonder if they considered ‘Captain Scarlett’ ?). For this reason it was probably fortunate that we were given permission to stand on the ramped area leading to the roped off VIP section behind the stage as it allowed us to stand above the heads of those on the dance-floor and have a reasonable view.
The 92-minute set had all the old favourites plus most of the tracks from the new album, "Red" (all except for my personal favourite, "Love Song" L ). A special mention must be made of the fabulous reworking of "I Will Be With You" which received a soft, ballad-like treatment which accentuated the emotive lyrics. It sounded excellent when it was played during the sound-check with just the backing vocals and when Carols voice was added for the actual performance it was almost perfect !
The lighting was also almost perfect with just the right blends to accompany the various tempos of the songs. If I had to find any fault it would be that the glitterball effect used for China suddenly started mid-verse which made it look like an afterthought although the stunning effect that it had of throwing the entire area into darkness with floating pins of light outweighed that considerably.
It was good to see that the ordeal of the arrival of baby Scarlett has not affected Carol vocally and she was as fabulous as ever !! Jez, Dave & Dan seemed to be more relaxed than they were on the last tour which has resulted in a vastly improved accompaniment to the voice of Ms Decker - in fact I would go as far as to say that Jez made almost as good a job of his solo-sections as the great Dean Howard himself would have!!
Judging by the brisk trading at the merchandise counter (T-Shirts and posters along with copies of the new album and a few final copies of "H&S’97") after the show it appeared that the rest of the audience were also impressed by the performance. There was also quite a long queue for Carol to sign things although, as always, she had time for a quick friendly chat to us all.
Alan Johnson appears by kind permission of New Deckade Publications….