The moment I had been waiting for had finally arrived. The Bunnymen were scheduled to take the stage at the Outdoor Theater at 8:35 PM. I made my way to the stage a couple acts early in an effort to inch my way forward such that I would be positioned close to the stage by the time The Bunnymen took the stage.
Considering how youthful the crowd was and the fact many did not know who they were, there was not much heat in the audience for their performance compared to the band that came before (Passion Pit) and afterwards (Vampire Weekend), both young, vibrant bands better suited to the younger crowd. Quite a few negative comments from people waiting for their act, making it clear the folks around me were not motivated to see them. I felt somewhat sad for The Bunnymen. They benefited from being sandwiched between two other bands popular with the younger audience, but it emphasized their age and how old their sound has become.
But I enjoyed the performance and may have been one of the more enthusiastic in the crowd. Stoked on tequila, I grooved to the music that is so familiar to me. The shortened set list demanded by the music festival format required that they stick to their greatest hits list, 10 songs, with no opportunity to expand out to some of their lesser well known tunes (which they don't necessarily play during their other stage performances, one of my gripes about the band). Ian is appreciative of the opportunity to perform before this audience, as he should be considering many new ears are listening with a chance to broaden his fan base.
From across the field, I could just make out the strains of a song that I grew up loving, "Lips Like Sugar." Echo & the Bunnymen were onstage hosting a retrospective love-in.
Through the copious amounts of smoke that shot into the air from machines beside the stage, Ian McCulloch and the boys looked just how I remembered them from when I was a depressed tween who relished dying her hair purple and piercing her own navel with a sewing needle. So real was the mirage of youth that I did all I could to avoid looking at the giant screen next to the stage that showed the band up-close and revealed their actual age -- and, by proxy, my own.
"This is the greatest song ever written," said McCulloch before launching into a keyboard-heavy version of "The Killing Moon." A great song, true, but McCulloch could have skipped the pretentious hyperbole and simply relied on the goodwill of the aging and sentimental Friday night crowd.
Youth has escaped them
Pushed to the margins by time
Bright lights growing dim