Another date with the Bunnymen had arrived! I boarded a plane at DIA at 1AM and was at JFK airport in NYC at 6:30 AM, catching a pair of trains to the Ronkonkoma train station. Sister Lucy and husband Andy were waiting for me. After a short stop at their house we drove straight to Smith Point Beach where I stripped in the parking lot and put on the wetsuit. Into the Atlantic to swim in the frigid water and ride meager waves lapping onto the shore. Still plenty fun to be playing in the ocean. Stopped to visit Pam and then returned home to have dinner that evening with two others, sister Lilly and husband Joe. Fun time, but I was exhausted by the time we went to bed at 11 PM, not having really slept the night before.
D-Day Saturday. Took the train into NYC. First thing was to stop by the East Village Radio Station to see if Mike got my message that I'd be stopping by, hoping he burned a CD with Ian's December 4th short acoustic performance at Webster Hall. No Mike, no CD and the DJ playing in a studio off the street knew nothing about this. How disappointing.
Checked in at the hotel and then toured around a bit before heading toward the Fillmore to check out the location. When we arrived the Bunnymen tour bus was parked near the side entrance and they were unloading gear from the trailer. There's Ian fan sitting on the sidewalk! Guitar cases lined up. I spoke to a roadie who jumped in during the fight in CT, claiming he was body slammed by bouncers mistaking him for one of the belligerents.
We found our way to the park at Union Square where we hung out waiting for John to arrive from Poughkeepsie. We (John, Lucy, Andy) then had dinner at a nearby brewpub. The time arrived to get in line at the Fillmore, hoping for a spot up front at this sold out show. Made it inside with everything I needed for the evening.
Kelly Stoltz and his band warmed up the audience with a great set of songs, between which he told stories about his love of the Bunnymen while growing up and how honored he was to join them on this tour as a result of the Icelandic volcano's ash cloud preventing another band from leaving Europe. Gordy joined Kelly on stage for several songs, playing both guitar and keyboards. The place as rocking by the time he exited the stage for the long wait for the main act.
The Bunnymen followed, performing 20 of their most popular songs for over an hour and a half to a very rowdy crowd that were loving the music. Ian sounded good this evening, although he told the crowd that he had "a little frog in me throat." The rest of the band sounded great, putting on a perfect performance. I had the pleasure of meeting two contributors to the Villiers Terrace website, "Wabbit" who flew all the way in from the UK (I met her in Liverpool too!) and "sergiuk2usa" up from South Carolina. "blinkilite" was somewhere behind us. It's always fun to met others who have come for the love of the band.
Echo & the Bunnymen hide in shadows while illuminating an impressive 30-year career in New YorkMay 1, 2010, at the Fillmore
By Alison BaitzPublished: May 4th, 2010 2:50pm
A mysterious stage presence and huge, amped-up sound were the defining characteristics of Echo & the Bunnymen’s recent two-night stint in New York City. Under-lit by dark blues and purples—and without much of any spotlights—sunglasses-clad Ian McCulloch and the rest of the Bunnymen looked most comfortable lurking in the on-stage shadows. Unfortunately, amid the dark and moody fog-ridden stage, the band was hardly visible, save for during random camera flashes from the audience—but it was a sensible atmosphere to focus solely on the music.
The band kicked off the show with the opening track from their debut album—“Going Up,” from 1980’s Crocodiles (Sire)—and continued to play songs that spanned their thirty-year career, such as “Bring On The Dancing Horses,” “Rust,” and “Seven Seas.” McCulloch’s voice sounded downright fragile at times, but whenever he wanted to relinquish singing duties—which luckily wasn’t often—helpful audience members would pick it right up. Overall, the night felt more like a perfectly edited concert film rather than a rough live show, thanks to masterful performances of each and every song and a magnified sound that made the Fillmore sound like an arena.
Beyond sounding great, Echo & the Bunnymen were downright amusing. Songs were often bookended by McCulloch’s fun tangents, which touched upon everything from overseas concert invitations to smoking, the latter an activity the band was doing much of the night. Mega hit “The Killing Moon,” was saved for the second-to-last song and introduced by McCulloch as “the greatest song in the world.” The last song, “The Cutter” (from 1983’s Porcupine) was duly noted as “the second greatest song in the world,” both performances pulling off an effective retrospective feel.
The two encores were arguably the highlights of the evening. Taking great liberties, the band blended their song “Nothing Lasts Forever” with Lou Reed’s “Walk On The Wild Side,” while “Do It Clean” contained a hint of both James Brown’s “Sex Machine” and Linda Ronstadt’s “Different Drum.” The second encore contained a spirited rendition of “Lips Like Sugar,” the perfect cap for an oldies-heavy set that waivered between moody and rocking, but nary a boring moment.
The show came to a close sometime around midnight. We hung out at the side stage door waiting for the band to exit. First to come out was Nick. Will came out later, shaking his hand and thanking him for the wonderful performance. He said he recognized me. Sharon (sergiuk2usa) instinctively headed off to the theaters front entrance where we met Ian coming out and getting into a waiting vehicle. I was able to shake his hand and thank him for the great performance.
There was an after party at the Brooklyn Bowl, located only three stops away on the subway's L line right here at Union Square. But John, having received chemo therapy a few days earlier, was not up to it, considering it was already 1 AM. Instead we walked around and found a hole in the wall restaurant were we had some food and liquid refreshment. It was around 3 AM before he and I made it back to the hotel, Lucy and Andy having left for home on the Island after the show. Another wonderful experience I will always cherish.
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