Sunday, December 6, 2009


Last weekend I entered my name into a contest offered by East Village Radio to see Ian McCulloch in an exclusive live acoustic performance in NYC on December 4th. I got an email a few days later:

"Congratulations. You've been selected to attend a very special performance by Ian McCulloch of Echo and the Bunnymen. The performance will be Friday December 4th at The Studio at Webster Hall 125 11th Street NYC. Doors open at 8pm "

Although I won a pair of tickets, I had a hearing on Friday at noon that prevented me from flying back east. Based on the live streamed show (buffering problems screwed up my recording of the event), I'm glad I did not spend the money. Instead I notified the radio station that my sister and her husband would attend in my place. No problem. They made a day of it in NYC, ending with Ian's performance.

This is my sisters account of the event:

"We got to the Studio at Webster Hall promptly at 8:00 P.M. There was a young, tall young man in a top hat behind a velvet rope attached to two stanchions. He looked up my name and Andy's (who was down as "Gurtsell"), then let us in. We went downstairs to a large, dark and cavernous room-damn, it was colder than we keep our place at night, which is 58 degrees. There wasn't much seating, and what there was, was arranged around the dance floor. The place was empty and filled up almost imperceptibly, until it was well-peopled by 10:00. At some point after that, an entourage went by right near us, and into a side door. Then someone went in with a large liquor bottle. At almost eleven o'clock, Ian walked past us and on to the stage. He sat on a chair with his guitar, a small table to the side, which had two glasses with an amber liquid in them. One was 3/4 full, the other, lighter in color liquid, was only 1/2 full. The broad-based, triangular liquor bottle I had seen earlier, was now under the little table on stage. After Ian sang his first song, a big, beefy guy ran onto the stage, and started singing Ian's praises to the sky, "the great Ian McCulloch, a legend in his own time," etc. Another tall, beefy security guy to my left started to push his way through the crowd, then stopped, perhaps he wasn't sure that this wasn't part of the show. Ian seemed amused and flattered at this impromptu diversion and the security guard paused. The on stage clown now pretended to be jerked back as if a hand had grabbed him by the scruff of the neck and was pulling him off stage. By this time, the crowd was laughing, and the guard relaxed once the jokester fan was back in the audience."

"The second blurry guy from the left is Ian he was drunk so the pictures are blurry-great shots, eh?"

"The second song was "Killer Moon, and everyone roared and soon as they heard a few bars. They sang along with Ian (as they had been encouraged to do by him) and applauded wildly at the end. It was an enthusiastic crowd, but at the end of the fourth song (all of twenty minutes), Ian abruptly got up and weaving somewhat, made his way off stage. Despite loud, repeated calls for another song, he never came back. The bottle was hardly necessary for such a short recital-two shots before he went on stage would have sufficed to hold him over for twenty'd think?"

Ian was on Mark Ronson's Authentic Shit show before his performance at The Studio @ Webster Hall. Download this preshow here:
With my appetite whetted, I grabbed my flask and a cigar and stood outside in the cold with the truck stereo going, doors wide open blasting into the night, listening to a bootleg recording of EATBs complete July 19, 1983 Royal Albert Hall gig. Now that was some performance!!

Pictures form the RAH video, "Do It Clean." What an energetic show, Ian clearly into it the music. What a difference between now and then!!

Winds of sorrow blowing
Over waves of heartfelt pain
Fed by our warm tears

Turn on the TV
Their lofty proclamations
Marching to the dirge

Peace will never be
Flush with hatred in their veins
Both sides of the wall

An effortless voice
Sounds out to expectant ears
Reaching for their hearts

The seeds of a dream
Drifting in a far off place
Captured by his sun

Dreams within his head
Eclipsed by reality
Crushed beneath its weight

There long before us
Watching eyes that do not see
Long after we're gone

Approaching the end
Hearts that can't be satistied
Calling out for more

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