Review and pics: Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott, Forest Live 2016, Cannock Chase

What a wonderful way to spend a Saturday evening - in the charming company of Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott.

Review and pics: Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott, Forest Live 2016, Cannock Chase

Jacqui Abbott performs on Cannock Chase

The northern duo, who together rose to fame as The Beautiful South in the 1990s, were welcomed on stage with open arms in the picturesque realms of Cannock Chase.

It can be said that 2016 hasn't been too bad for Paul and Jacqui after killer sets at Glastonbury and the Royal Albert Hall - but tonight they swapped the glitz and glamour to perform amid the 3000 acres of fern and fauna. 

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Regardless of the unconvincing weather, thousands packed out the sold-out event which was awash with picnic blankets and fold-out chairs. 

The crowd were treated to a mixture of classics from The Beautiful South, as well as from Paul's first group The Housemartins - and were granted a taste of their new record Wisdom, Laughter and Lines.
It didn't take long to get the crowd up on their feet as they kicked off the evening's affairs with the new and upbeat Wives 1,2 & 3 before working their way through favourites Old Red Eyes Is Back, Rotterdam (Or Anywhere) and Don't Marry Her. 

"I am the President and this is the First Lady of pop." said Paul as he introduced the band. 

In his thin rimmed glasses, zipped up parka and beaming grin, his voice sounded as good as ever for Housemartins 1987 number I Can't Put My Finger On It. 

He said he'd been criticised for his 'dad dancing' in previous reviews. Gotta say, Paul, I was quite impressed. 

"She's a perfect 10, but she wears a 12! Baby keep a little two for me!" Hips were swinging as the set wound down for crowd-pleaser Perfect Ten before melodically finishing things off with their famous rendition of The Isley Brothers' Caravan of Love.

The pair left the stage before returning to spoil us with not the one but TWO encores. 

First up, they smashed through Beautiful South tunes A Little Time and You Keep It All In as confetti and giant balloons soared through the sky.

Sadly it all came to an end with the lovely Woman In The Wall - a fitting end to the evening's affairs, nestled in the trees of the Chase. 

Paul and Jacqui might have been about a bit, but decades on they still know how to wow an audience.

A fantastic evening from the get go! 

By Tom Oakley
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