"Tempted by another cup of coffee" - Paul Carrack in concert at the Neptune Theatre Liverpool, Thursday 7th May 1998. Review by David Perkins.

On 7th May I was treated to seeing Paul Carrack live for the second time at a sold out show at Liverpool's Neptune Theatre. The first time I saw him was at Chester's Gateway Theatre so, ironically I have seen him on both opening nights of his current tour. He is currently on the second leg of the tour to promote his latest album: "Beautiful World"". Our good editor Mr Alan Hewitt (who, me?) who had never seen Paul's solo show before accompanied me so, for the first and most likely the last time, I had one over on him!

We arrived at the Neptune just as the doors were opening at 7.30 just in time to take a promotional poster from the display stand and then we headed to the merchandise stall where Alan proceeded to talk to the merchandising guy about Jethro Tull of all things! There was a better selection of merchandise on sale here and the programme was an extremely reasonable 4. After buying that and the obligatory T-shirt, we then decided to park ourselves at the bar. After getting slightly less sober that I had planned; the bell went signalling the arrival on stage of the support act. Alan chose the comforts of the bar however, rather than see Celtus although this may have something to do with the fact that it was my round! After several more drinks, the second bell sounded and we took our seats for Paul's show and he was greeted by rapturous applause from the capacity crowd.

He kicked off the show with the Mechanics' classic "Silent Running" which was greatly enhanced by a saxophone solo section. Similar to the 1996 "Hits" tour, it was given the semi-acoustic treatment and worked well. Paul was comfortably situated behind his keyboards for most of the song, coming out front for the chorus. Next on the list was "Another Cup Of Coffee" where Paul took centre stage with an acoustic guitar and belted out this classic song.

Paul, as ever, was in fine voice and the audience was already wrapped up in the atmosphere and clapping along. The simple light show effectively lit the stage without being intrusive. Paul then introduced himself and the band and told us how happy he was to be playing Liverpool for the first time in his career. Just before he finished someone shouted; "Welcome to Liverpool, Paul!" sentiments which were shared by everyone at the venue. The show continued with a track off his new album titled "Satisfied". I actually prefer the new album to "Blue Views", so I was very pleased to hear some of my favourites from this album translated so well into the live format.

Paul Carrack on stage at the
Neptune Theatre, Liverpool, 1998

The classics came thick and fast though and the crowd who were not as active as Chester's; where they had been up and dancing by the fifth song were, nevertheless obviously enjoying themselves. After another volley of hits ranging from "Eyes Of Blue" and "Love Will Keep Us Alive" from "Blue Views" to "Tempted" by Squeeze; Paul introduced the following song as the next single which was the new album's title track: "Beautiful World" and also gave a humorous insight into his own image when he said: 'You may not have heard this new single if you haven't been listening to Radio Two recently'. This was also a good example of Paul's humour which he also demonstrated when introducing "Eyes Of Blue" when he joked about the film in which it was used: When Saturday Comes saying; 'I'll bet that one's never off your screens...' Paul then played "Beautiful World" giving it amore upbeat ending which inspired a flourish of applause from the audience.

He then started to lead into the "Hit" packed second half of the show beginning with "Over My Shoulder" which he introduced by saying; 'Here's a little number I wrote with Mr Rutherford, anyone know what it is?' To which Alan immediately shouted 'Over My Shoulder!' The audience immediately started singing and clapping along with the song, Paul really seemed to be enjoying himself; prowling around the stage and holding out his microphone for us to join in. The rest of the band were excellent with the drummer powering his way through the whole set without faulting once. The guitarists were excellent as was the keyboard player and by this point a real party atmosphere had developed which was sustained when Paul leapt straight into "How Long?" The song rocked along with the audience sounding more enthusiastic than ever. As Paul leaped from keyboard to guitar; the regular keyboard player, whose talent had become obvious to us during the night, came to the front and belted out a few choruses for us to sing to. Then Paul re-took the microphone and rounded off the song with one final singalong.

With the whole audience on their feet, Paul and the band left the stage after taking their bows and the cries and cheers now filled the Neptune to the rafters and the band soon returned for their encores consisting of "The Living Years" which had the audience looking on in awe at this faultless performance, which was in tun followed by "Oh Oh Oh, My My My" which gave us all a chance to give the band one final send off before they finally left the stage and left us with fond memories of a great show and looking forward to the next Mechanics tour, whenever that might be? Thanks for a great night.