More than anything, the current Erasure tour is about lead singer Andy Bell’s vocals. Every single song allowed Bell to stretch his voice to the rafters. In fact the new tracks, including the stunning I Lose Myself and the club-ready A Whole Lotta Love Run Riot, seemed custom-designed to showcase that voice.
Erasure have a back catalog spanning twenty-five years, and they reached way back for the b-side Push Me, Shove Me and the crowd favorite Oh L’Amour. The new songs fit right in but somehow it was the older tracks where Erasure truly found their groove. It wasn’t just a function of being familiar. The songs from early in their career, like the frenetic Drama and bouncy singalong Sometimes, just worked better tonight. Those songs found that balance between allowing Bell to roam wild and Vince Clarke’s intense love affair with the soundscape of Erasure’s songs.
Blue Savannah is consistently one of my favorite live tracks (nothing beats Clarke in a cactus suit playing guitar on an acoustic-tinged Blue Savannah during the Cowboy tour), and the backing vocals tonight were layered brilliantly behind Andy Bell’s soaring lead vocals giving the song a fresh new feel. Twice, Bell favored the lower register for a song, including Tomorrow’s World lead single When I Start To (Break It All Down). He must have been saving his voice for other tracks because A Little Respect was belted out with an intensity that sent waves of energy through the crowd.
The sound mix was a little muddy in the House of Blues, and it was distinctly noticeable on the ballads. Alien was just a sonic mess. The acoustic elements were completely lost and the backing vocals smothered Bell’s. A similar problem affected Always and Ship of Fools. But for whatever reason, the dance tracks didn’t suffer the same sound issues.
Erasure knows how to get people off their feet, and they had the crowd hopping from the pulsing intro to Love to Hate You straight through to the last note of Stop. Once again, Andy Bell sounded fantastic. With the new album’s release still a month off, it is always good to hear from them again.
When I Start To (Break It All Down)
Fill Us With Fire
You’ve Got To Save Me Right Now
Ship of Fools
Victim of Love
Push Me Shove Me
Love To Hate You
I Lose Myself
A Whole Lotta Love Run Riot
Breath of Life
Chains of Love
A Little Respect