Chicago Park West

Everything but the girl...

For The Beautiful South, Wednesday night at Chicago‘s Park West is another night of everything but the girl.

Seemingly unfazed by the shock departure of singer Jacqueline Abbott days earlier, The Beautiful South are carrying on through the hits on a short U.S. tour that leads up to the American release of the bands new disc, ‘Painting It Red’, on October 31.

“I have to apologise for Jacqui not being here. She had to go home”, says lead singer Paul Heaton, who nonetheless keeps the reason for her exit a secret.

“But were going to try to manage our best without her”, continues the high-spirited Heaton early in the band’s 80-minute set before a crowd of several hundred.

And manage well, they do. Reports from earlier stops on the U.S. tour indicated Abbott was hardly missed. In fact, her absence gives Heaton and fellow singer Dave Hemingway the chance to put an amusing and well-received twist on such singles as ‘We Are Each Other’ and ‘Perfect 10’.

“This one we’ve had to alter a little bit, so just go with it”, Heaton says in introducing the latter. Hemingway follows, “Just pretend I’m gay”.

“You did a good job, Dave,” Heaton says at the conclusion of this story of plus-size lovers, then turns to the crowd with a smile, “It fits him, doesn’t it”?

James Brixey