Monday, May 10, 2010


John and I woke up late Sunday morning. After breakfast we visited several bookstores and toured the arts and craft show in Union Square. By mid afternoon he had to call it quits and head back home to Poughkeepsie, leaving me to fend for myself the remainder of the day. I spent the remainder of the afternoon walking the streets, visiting oddball shop that are scattered here and there. I found Public Image Limited's "Live in Tokyo" in a cubby hole of a record store, music to listen to during a virtual concert outdoors some future Saturday nights.

Back to to the hotel where I changed and prepared for tonight's show. Was standing near the front of the line shortly after 7 PM. I saw Brian, who I met in Liverpool where he got Ian to sign the 1984 tour book, and asked him whether they would have an after show party and he confirmed that it would be at the Beauty Bar just around the corner from the theater. Doors opened at 8 PM and I took my place right before the stage, knowing it was going to be a long wait. I was told that unlike yesterdays sell out show, tonight they had only 600 people in attendance. All I cared about were the few people standing in front of me.

I no longer recall who the warm up band was. A spacey sounding rock band that was far too loud with lots of feedback. The first thing I noticed people do is put their fingers in their ears to protect themselves from the bombardment of sound of the variety you can feel reverberating deep in your gut. Thank goodness for the earplugs I bring along for these occasions. The band was not well received by the crowd. It was over in less than 40 minutes. Now another hour long wait for The Bunnymen. At least we were entertained by an odd video on the screen above the stage.

Echo & The Bunnymen took the stage sometime after 10:30 PM. I forgot my baseball cap and so was forced to clip the mics to the edge of my glasses, which I now realize is not a wise decision (but was my only one) because it put them closer to my mouth and what was coming out of it during the performance. I was feeling good that night and was in the mood just to have fun, singing along and dancing to their music. What that meant was a near perfect recording of the show was, in my opinion, ruined because of my out of tune singing intruding now and then. You win some and you lose some. That's life. I had a hell of a good time in the process!

Ian and the band put on a nearly flawless performance. Ian was sounding better than the night before, although he spoke very little between songs. On this last night of the North American tour, his mind was on the performance. They swapped out a couple songs, inserting the infrequently played songs Crocodiles and Heads Will Roll to the joy of the audience. Near the end of the evening Ian took the time to thank everyone who played a role in their tour here in the states.

Echo & The Bunnymen: Live At The Fillmore
Colm McAuliffe
Monday, May 3rd, 2010 1:59 pm

Apart from a six year hiatus in the early nineties, Echo and the Bunnymen have been around for a whopping 32 years incorporating a glorious heyday from 1979-1984 whereupon the band released five albums which still eclipse anything released by their ‘Big Music’ contemporaries U2, Simple Minds or, heaven forbid, The Alarm.

Despite the sweltering New York heat, Ian McCulloch is as ever resplendent in an enormous coat, hoodie and shades and the six-piece line up put on a storming show, essentially a greatest hits, padded with a few selections from last years The Fountain. And despite battling a cold, McCulloch’s sonorous vocal is in fine fettle – the opening triumvirate of “Going Up”, “Show Of Strength” and the mighty “Rescue” were remarkable, the tinny record sound transformed into a much more muscular proposition on stage with Will Seargants whale like guitar scything through the proceedings. For a long-term fan like myself, the performance was close to perfect. To hear Seargant recreate Ravi Shankar’s sitar riff on ‘The Cutter’ was spellbinding; similarly, the band increased in confidence as the night wore on particularly with ‘All That Jazz’ and ‘The Killing Moon’ bringing the initial set to an apocalyptic conclusion.

Deciding to return for the first encore with 1997 comeback single ‘Nothing Lasts Forever’ was perhaps the only blip in the set, I could never see the value of this sub-Verve dirge but finishing with ‘Do It Clean’ and ‘Lips Like Sugar’ redeemed matters entirely. The latter song’s position as most-shouted-for-song was a curious dichotomy in my eyes as by the time of it’s release, the band were on the way down for us Europeans yet their stock was merely rising here in the States.

McCulloch didn’t say much but he didn’t need to. This was a valedictory, majestic performance from a truly classic band.

The theater cleared out quickly after they finished playing their final song Do It Clean. I was able to snag Gordy's set list from off the stage. What I noticed was that they taped down one list with the same songs played the previous night, but then someone came through and taped a new set list on top of it that included Crocodiles and Heads Will Roll, as though a last minute change had been made just before the were scheduled to come on stage.

Waited outside for Will to exit the side door of the theater, thanked him for another great performance and watched him drive away. He graciously signed the set list before departing. I then immediately walked the couple blocks to the Beauty Bar where the after party was scheduled to happen. Will was already set up with his laptop spinning his sound. Gordy was there, as were Stephen and Jez. They too willingly signed the set list. I never have much to say to them since I feel as though I'm in the presence of gods. I simple watch and enjoy the music, taking in the whole experience.

I wander the streets afterwards, enjoying the fact I can safely drink all the liquids I want now that the show is over. A slice of pizza and a couple of cherry Italian ices eaten while seated on the curb of a building opposite the hotel, watching the traffic pass by at a time when the city was as close as it would ever be to falling asleep. Up to the room and I drop into a deep sleep.

Monday marked the end of the long weekend. Checked out at 11 AM. Wandered the streets of the city, making my way down to the financial district where I attempted to meet up with a college buddy of mine, Mike, from 30 years ago. I missed him by an hour, not having called and made plans to meet him in advance. I walked over to the Brooklyn Bridge and had an hour long cigar smoke midway across the East River, watching the steady stream of people and taking in the unique skyline. I returned to Mike's office and missed him a second time. Oh well, perhaps I'll do better when I return this coming summer. The E train takes me to Jamaica station where I catch the AirTrain to JFK. 4:30 PM and I'm at the airport. The flight back home is delayed, a bogus excuse given, but is probably due to the fact that they apprehended the suspected Times Square bomber at the airport about the time I was there. In Denver by 11:30 PM and home an hour later. It was all over, the events now just a memory.

Download it here:


Heads Will Roll:

Nothing Lasts Forever/The Fountain/Wild Side:

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