Echo and the Bunnymen

02 Academy 12/12/15

Love them or loathe, it’s been a busy year on the Liverpool circuit for ECHO AND THE BUNNYMEN. The collaboration with Philharmonic Orchestra started at the back end of 2014 culminating with a sold-out gig in February at the Philly’s home and as the main act closing LIMF at Sefton Park back in August with a lot of pomp and ceremony.  Personally, I was disappointed with the band on that Bank Holiday weekend.  It seemed to me, that they didn’t want to be there, no interaction with the crowd, from Ian McCulloch, only using the big screens to display by gone years from the eighties. Bad lighting and no camera feed to the big screens left the crowd bored and lost interest quicker than a Wall Street stocker broker on Black Monday.

Fast forward, and what a difference four months makes. A smaller venue at the O2 Academy and two sell-out nights in the middle of December. Obviously, The Bunnymen have a huge following in their hometown, the fans were out in force, starting on Friday the 13th Dec.  Echo and the Bunnymen were instrumental with the new Liverpool sound in the earlier Eighties.

To their local fans they are the greatest band that ever graced this planet, maybe the Universe.  Opening with Crocodiles raises expectations, that this is a night that remind us why Bunnymen should have been bigger than McCulloch’s grandiose bleating, rather than the enigma that they became. The influence of The Doors is paramount throughout the night, within the poetry of the lyrics and in Villiers Terrace; leading into Roadhouse Blues the evening has interchanging snippets of the Los Angeles band and their cover of  ‘People are Strange’.

Mac is in fine form tonight, engaging with the crowd with his dry Scouse humor.  The ninth best song ever written Over The Wall according to McCulloch was proceeded by newer material Constantinople from the album Meteroites.  The highlights of the night are Bring On The Dancing Horses and The Killing Moon which is by far the best song The Bunnymen recorded and in tongue in cheek McCulloch states “he is sick on saying it” but still tells us “this is the greatest song ever written”. Que mass singalong and while Mac takes in the adulation, turns and points at Will Sergeant “George Harrison was Fucking Brilliant, but not as good as him” and also derides McCartney as a “not a bad singer”, lording himself “as the best fucking singer ever” to the crowd, before leading into ‘The Cutter’.

Back to The Doors theme with People Are Strange from The Lost Boys soundtrack which should have catapulted Echo and The Bunnymen into global domination with commercial success in the American market. The evening comes to an end with Lips Like Sugar and Nothing Lasts Forever with interludes of Hyacinth House and Walk on the Wild Side bringing a close to proceedings of the two night residency at the O2.

Mike Sheerin

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