Friday, 4 March, 2022 in Culture, Live Reviews, Music

Into Music Live Review: Echo & the Bunnymen

Concert: Echo & the Bunnymen
Venue: Glasgow Barrowland
Date:  28 February 2022

The closing trinity of The Cutter, The Killing Moon and Ocean Rain brought a monumental gig to a close. I’ll cut to the chase, it was a sensational finish to an absolute triumph of a show which saw a sold out crowd gather to celebrate 40 years of Echo & the Bunnymen music. With 11 studio albums to choose from, the hard part was always going to be which songs to leave out, no easy task.

Image courtesy of Renzo Mazzolini

Of course, lead singer Ian McCulloch isn’t known as Mac the Mouth for nothing and says about that penultimate track:

I’ve always said that The Killing Moon is the greatest song ever written. I’m sure Paul Simon would be entitled to say the same about Bridge Over Troubled Water, but for me The Killing Moon is more than just a song. It’s a psalm, almost hymnal. It’s about everything, from birth to death to eternity and God – whatever that is – and the eternal battle between fate and the human will. It contains the answer to the meaning of life. 

Hearing it live in the Barrowland, it’s difficult to argue as the crowd gave themselves to the band, the music, the moment. 

Will Sergeant. Image courtesy of @7Bigmouth7

Not that the crowd needed warming up but with Alan McGee on DJ duty beforehand, the atmosphere was electric before the band took the stage. Kicking off with Going Up, the first song on debut album Crocodiles, was a clever move. The immediacy of Will Sergeant’s (read the Into Creative review of his book Bunnyman here) guitar set the tone for the subsequent hundred minutes or so. The sound that came from stage left was nothing short of sparkling. Sergeant akin to a renaissance artist, painting (detonating?) aural explosions which burst from his six-stringed canvas. Front and centre, McCulloch appeared in half silhouette, trench coat (of course), shades (of course) and spiky hair (of course) oozing a coolness that few dare attempt let alone pull off. While Sergeant and McCulloch remained the focal points, the rhythm section provided a strong backbone to allow the stars to shine. 

Bring On The Dancing Horses was a real highlight, a song that mixed elements of dreamy pop, psychedelic guitar and hazy reverb and one where McCulloch’s vocal really came through well. 

I did though have a minor gripe. There were a couple of occasions when McCulloch essentially let the crowd sing large parts of songs, most notably on Seven Seas and while I get the sentiment, I’d much rather listen to the vocalist sing.  

Image courtesy of George Paterson

Elsewhere the band played a new track in Brussels Is Haunted and with the rumours that there is a new album in the offing, the track fit in effortlessly to the setlist. 

Villiers Terrace segued perfectly into The Doors Roadhouse Blues, allowing the band to get down and dirty before a stunning Nothing Lasts Forever -which included McCulloch singing part of Lou Reed’s Walk On The Wild Side – almost raised the roof 

A frenetic Never Stop took the breath away before Lips Like Sugar brought the main set to a close. Ahead of the encore, the band were presented with a Barrowland Star as they were inducted into the venue’s Hall of Fame. Having played this esteemed venue at least a dozen times now, it was certainly well deserved and helped seal a truly memorable night. 

 John Welsh







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