Thursday, December 08, 2005

Live Echo and the walking dead

Play it: Echo & the Bunnymen setlist, 12/03/2005

I've been sick and bedridden for most of the last eight days (the last four with feverish dreams,) but for two days in the middle of it, I felt pretty good... good enough at least, to go see Echo & the Bunnymen rock Neumo's this past Saturday night. Arriving pale from being sick, I instantly felt at home - turns out all the darkly clad, pale art kids from the 80's had grown up to be darkly clad pale adults. I just hoped the smell of my Ricola throat drops wouldn't give me away.

Echo, who are essentially now just Ian ("Mac") McCullough and Will Sergeant from the original lineup, came out to a dark, dark stage dimly lit with a red backlight. Mac wore sunglasses and dangled a cigarette from his lips, pointing at lights that he wanted dim, which he would do throughout the show (dude likes it dark.) Dark indeed, as they started the set with some of their darkest material ("Going Up" and "Show of Strength" - which, fittingly enough, are the opening tracks on Echo's first two albums.) Much of the setlist seemed to be orchestrated with an ebb & flow, as they followed it with the light and breezy crowd faves "Stormy Weather" (from their most recent release Siberia,) and Pretty in Pink's "Bring on the Dancing Horses," which drew expectant whistles and cheers. To this point, though, Will and Mac still seemed to be holding back, seeming to suffer from the 'UK performing disease' of appearing stiff while playing... but that didn't last for long.

As they kicked into "Scissors in the Sand" all questions as to whether these icons from the 80's could still rock were put to rest. Sergeant's edge-y guitar work served as a great reminder of his place in the post-punk movement of the early eighties. Much to the audience's delight, Echo relied heavily on their past for their set, with crucial songs like "Killing Moon," "The Cutter," "Never Stop" and, of course "Lips Like Sugar." While the latest album, Siberia, was represented by four songs, I found it odd at first that they skipped the track "Parthenon Drive," a highlight from the album. Upon reflection, however, it's just as well, as the song is like a love letter to their past, and the whole show seem to function as such (playing it could seem redundant.) Meanwhile, the icons also had fun with some medleys, mixing their songs with covers of other artists (of which Echo shows no shame in citing as influences.) So Crocodiles' classic "Villiers Terrace" runs into The Doors' "Roadhouse Blues" (a curveball, as most would assume if they played the Doors it'd be their famous version of "People are Strange,") and later on, for an encore, they turned Evergreen's "Nothing Lasts Forever" into a sing-along to Lou Reed's "Walk on the Wild Side." Mac even managed to work in a tribute to hometown (Liverpool) legend John Lennon, marking the upcoming (today) anniversary of his death. By this point in the evening, the smoke in the building had reached it's peak, seeming like an out-of-control fog machine. In four short days, a ban on smoking in buildings like this would be in affect throughout the city, and those patrons fueled by nicotine were taking in as much as they could in anticipation, much to the detriment of my failing health.

As Ian McCullough thanked the audience and left the stage, I was feeling drained, but satisfied, soon to be heading gloriously into my rock n' roll fever dreams. Definitely worth the relapse.

Previously:
How's my stormy weather now? (review of Echo's Siberia)

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1 comment:

drake leLane said...

Echo & the Bunnymen setlist 12/03/05

* "Going Up" - Echo & The Bunnymen
* "Show Of Strength" - Echo & The Bunnymen
* "Stormy Weather" - Echo and the Bunnymen
* "Bring On The Dancing Horses" - Echo & The Bunnymen
* "The Disease" - Echo & The Bunnymen
* "Scissors In The Sand" - Echo and the Bunnymen
* "All That Jazz" - Echo and the Bunnymen
* "The Back Of Love" - Echo and the Bunnymen
* "Killing Moon" - Echo and the Bunnymen
* "In The Margins" - Echo and the Bunnymen
* "Never Stop" - Echo and the Bunnymen
* "Villiers Terrace" - Echo & The Bunnymen
* "Of A Life" - Echo and the Bunnymen
* "Rescue" - Echo and the Bunnymen
* "The Cutter" - Echo and the Bunnymen
* "Nothing Lasts Forever" - Echo and the Bunnymen
* "Lips Like Sugar" - Echo and the Bunnymen
* "Over The Wall" - Echo and the Bunnymen
* "Ocean Rain" - Echo and the Bunnymen