Reading Brannigans
9 February 2000
Setlist:(70 min)
Monkey House
With A Little Luck
Heart and Soul
I Will Be With You
Bridge of Spies
The Promise
Say You Will
Let It All Fall
Wing and A Prayer
Secret Garden
Running Away
Sex Talk
Whenever You Need Me
China In Your Hand
T'PAU, live and direct at Brannigans.
This was the first time I'd been in a Brannigans, never mind seen a band there.  Brannigans is a chain of 'theme pubs' scattered the length and breadth of Britain, which seem to be bringing music to the masses. The Brannigans slogan is 'eating dancing and cavorting' - strange that it fails to mention live music as there seem to be live bands provided several nights a week.  Most of them are, as seems to be the norm these days, cover bands, so tonight we were fortunate to see an original band perform, T'Pau. Despite this being a bar/niteclub there is a proper stage area, raised 3 steps above the dancefloor, allowing everyone a chance to actually see the petite but still lovely, Carol

This is not the T'pau of the late 80's or early '90's though, only Carol Decker remains from those halcyon days.  The other band members are a much younger, fresher, set of musicians are; Jez on Guitar, Dan on drums, Dave on bass and Jen (?) on keyboards. They performed with plenty of energy and, apart from the rather sombre looking female keyboard player, had wide smiles for most of the set. 

After a big introduction from the house DJ the band appeared on stage, donned their instruments and led us into the first track, Island. Carol entered after the instrumental introduction to a large cheer, with noticeably longer hair than on the promo flyers scattered freely around the premises. the sound was initially a touch on the harsh, tinny side, though did improve slightly during the set, though never improving dramatically.  I guess the oddly shaped roof was to blame for part of the sound problems, nicely patterned though it was. Island segued seamlessly into the following track, Monkey House so it wasn't until after that that Carol said hello to the keen and loudly cheering Reading audience between chews on her gum!. Only a few words, mind, and then the band sped into With A Little Luck.  During this track Jez and Dave gave us their Status Quo impression, legs astride and swinging guitar and bass forwards and back, just to prove that they are a rock 'n' Roll band. Heart and Soul slowed  the pace a little while Valentine took it down another notch.

Speeding things up again, the next track, I Will Be With You, really showed the power of Carol's voice, though it did tend to get a bit lost in the noise and echoes of the sound mix at times. She's certainly not lost any of her vocal ability over the years since T'Pau's first hits, hitting all the high notes and sustaining the lengthy ones. 
Before Bridge of Spies, title track of  T'Pau's debut album, a brief pause allowed  Carol to make a show of smelling her right armpit, commenting "It's hot up here". It was fairly warm in the audience too by this point, people crowding close to the stage to soak up the music.  The second album's title track followed directly, The Promise. Things were rocked up a little by the next number, Say You Will, with Carol even headbanging before beginning the vocals. The heavier tracks continued with Let It All Fall and Wing and A Prayer, Carol asking the band "Shall we get these people bopping again?" With "Let's get these people dancing!", the crowd were pleased to oblige.

Before Secret Garden, Carol asked us "How's my hair? I spent hours on it." followed by "You know how it is girls, you spend hours putting your make-up on, and ten minutes later it's running down your face." 
During the rocky Running Away, as for the rest of the show, both bass and guitarist have large smiles on their faces, obviously enjoying themselves.  The female keyboard player didn't share their smiles - possibly concentrating on the music, this being the first date of the tour.

Sex Talk  followed with some phallic symbolisation care of the bass and guitar - the guys kneeling down, stage front, guitar necks raised between horizontal to almost vertical during the second chorus.  They finished the main set with Whenever You Need Me.
Before the last track Carol introduced us to her band. The set was brought to a close with T'Pau's most famous single, China In Your Hand, introduced by Carol as "Everyone in the f***ing country knows this one." This seemed to be proved as most of the audience sang heartily along to the whole track.


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This page was created on 10 Feb 2000. Last updated 4 Apr 2001.