Thursday, October 2, 2008

ALL HANDS ON DECK AT DAWN


Echo and the Bunnymen made a triumphant return to NYC last night with a concert rendition, accompanied by orchestra, of their classic 1984 album Ocean Rain. The band are celebrating 30 years in the business and along with their home town of Liverpool and the Royal Albert Hall in London, they recreated the sound of our generation here in NYC. If they weren't THE seminal band, Joy Division were, they certainly were my favorite. This album, though not my favorite of theirs, HEAVEN UP HERE & CROCODILES are, contains one of my favorite lines ever, from the final song ocean rain "all hands on deck at dawn". If I play it I will sing that that line in my head for days. I just love the rhythm of it flowing off your tongue and the imagery of our Liverpudlian shipmates lost in a foggy sea of forlorn love, "sailing to sadder shores". I bought Crocodiles, their first album, my final year in high school, and wore the grooves out. This was the direction our music was going?, an 'aha' moment. Nobodies voice soared and drowned with melancholy quite like Ian McColloch's and nobodies hair soared quite like the Haystack he produced in the late '70s either, but here it was last night making a modest return like an old friend. Mac himself was in great form, compared to the surly crank that showed up at their last concert in Irving Plaza many years ago, this time joking and remarking on how great it was to be here, wondering if "Billy Crystal" was in attendance. Actually this is up for some conjecture as only a handful of people could understand what he was saying, but his singing voice was crystalline, seemly no different than the first time I saw them in 1982. The crowd jammed the famous old hall. Full of expats, half the NYC photo and film community, they didn't sit all night, the bar being open till almost the end of the show also help to fuel the crowds regressing to their formative years. Images were shown on both sides of the stage on large screens, taken by guitarist Will Sargent, at the beginning of the Bunnymen journey. Man they were so young, Christ. Not unlike Corbjin's in the quality, deep grained B&W, they were quite moving as they included pics of drummer Pete Defreitas who died many years ago. I remember seeing some of those images for the first time in music mags as a teenager and being spellbound by the bands seemingly natural abilities to play to the camera, now in hindsight they seemed like happy go lucky kids, pups, all mood and drama posturing. Fantastic. The sound was fab, or though the drums could have been harder, and the album sounded as new and fresh as it did twenty odd years ago. So it feels our favorite scousers have another couple of years left in them, great, as long as their calling for all hands on deck it gives us all a little more time to make our mark.

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