Heaton and Abbott delight fans at Dalby Forest gig

Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott at Forest Live at Dalby Forest. Picture by David Harrison.
Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott at Forest Live at Dalby Forest. Picture by David Harrison.

Dalby Forest opened up to thousands of music fans for the annual Forest Live concerts – Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott and George Ezra.

The first headliners in the Forestry Commission’s gigs in North Yorkshire were Heaton and Abbott.

Expectation was high from the packed outdoor arena especially as the duo’s latest album 2017’s Crooked Calypso charted at No 2 making it their highest release as a duo to date.

They did numbers from the best-seller and DIY which, as is customary, marries whip-smart lyrics with sing-along tunes.

It’s an odd mix – perky pop with cynical oberservation – but it has never failed Heaton yet – either with the Beautiful South or his earlier incarnation as part of the Housemartins.

May be that is its beauty – like a Disney movie – something to keep the youngsters happy and more for the knowing parents.

The newer stuff went down well but it is the favourites that really got the audience up and bouncing.

Carry on Regardless, Perfect 10, Rotterdam, Old Red Eyes is Back, Don’t Marry Her and then the final encore to the Caravan of Love.

It was marvellous vintage stuff packed with hits and crowd-pleasers.

In support was one of the first rebels of pop Billy Bragg – still talking about a New England.

Hard to knock the ‘old country’ when you’re surrounded by acres of countryside, babbling brooks, flowing rivers, mature trees and free, roaming wildlife.

And all bathed in glorious sunshine. What’s to knock?