Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Echo and the Bunnymen - Glasgow Royal Concert Hall 28/09/11

Echo and the Bunnymen are one of my favourite bands, one of the few bands  that you could say don't play gigs. Their shows are occassions, cup finals at times, so when they announced they were playing their seminal album 'Ocean Rain' with strings at the Concert Hall I was a little excited. At the time I was skint and my mate Tel got us tickets sharpish for the front row. The scene was set for a great night.


After a pre-gig pint in Heavenly the sense of occassion heightened as I walked round the side of the venue to see singer Ian McCulloch outside the side door having a fag and I said 'Come on late, my mate is stuck in traffic' to which he looked somewhat bemused.


Inside it was announced that there were 3 sets; a string classics set, a greatest hits set and then 'Ocean Rain'.


The lovely string section performed some Bunnymen tunes while most of the crowd were at the bar, we soon joined them. Then the band took to the stage in their famous dry ice, all silohettes, McCulloch could easily still have been his 20-something self as he was when they burst on to the  scene.


The Greatest Hits didn;t include; Lips Like Sugar, Back of Love, The Cutter or Nothing Ever Lasts Forever. I can only assume they were going to come back on after playing Ocean Rain and play these tunes. Instead we got some great songs like 'Never Stop' and 'Bring On The Dancing Horses' (admittedly superb) along with some more recent tunes.


McCulloch aplogised after the opening 'Rust' for being 'rusty'. It was no joke, the band were clearly not gelling and throughout the set McCulloch berated the bassist, rythm guitarist, sound engineer and lighting engineer.


He also regularly went into a comedy Scottish accent and had 'banter' with the crowd. Those that have seen the Bunnymen before (and I must be in double figures) will know this is common occurrence. But tonight McCulloch was clearly drunk (regular drinks appeared on the riser on stage for him) and possibly coked out his nut.


At the end Mac apologised and said he had received some bad news. Now if he had the kind of bad news that we all fear, the loss of a loved one, fair enough. But on stage he said for his birthday he had received a chocolate cake with candles and he hates chocolate cake....and candles.


I like McCulloch, he has what I would describe as the x-factor, not the Cowell version, the real rock star version, something a lot of current bands sadly lack. You can't take your eyes off him, he looks good, he sings good, he writes great fucking songs.


But tonight he was a total and utter c*nt. The poor young string section were behind his riser and I felt sorry for them. I have never felt like that at a gig before.


We did get a sublime 'Killing Moon' but McCulloch went into full breakdown mode, challenging the crowd to a fight, saying he would bottle someone and then walked off before playing 'Ocean Rain'!


The majority of songs featured breakdowns in the music to allow him to rant a-la  his hero Jim Morrison, but they just came across as drunken rambles. Funny at first perhaps, but then just an embarrissing farce.


To my right, sat a couple from Chicago who had flew over for the show, afterwards I met two lads from Newcastle who had driven up. A lot of money had been spent by fans wanting to hear a glorious album with strings on stage.....it didn't happen.


After a long waiting period during which a large percentage of the audience left, the band came back on. I expected 'Ocean Rain' but for some bizarre reason they played 'Killing Moon' again and McCulloch berated Will Sergeant 'you didn't even know, you didn't even notice.'


At one stage he stood behind him and looked like he was going to lamp him with his mic stand. Whether he was referring to the chocolate cake with candles I will never know.


If this was at the Barras, glasses would have been raining down. Somewhat amazingly through the boo's and shouts for a refund were shouts of 'we love you Mac' and 'you can do it'.


Mac may have tried but he broke down into tears at one point and a stage hand came on to console him.


Me and Tel genuinely couldn't believe what we were seeing. 


And so Mac walked off again. Again the band followed, only this time they didn't come back out and eventually the lights came on, by which point most people had left.


I've been to some shit gigs in my time, I've seen singers walk off before, but this was quite insane. 


In some ways I quite like it. Coldplay would never do something like this, neither would most bands who dress from Topman.


I've never been tempted to ask for a refund before but I paid £40 for this. I wonder if the Bunnymen will make a statement about it.......


As it was, the band didn't even play 'Ocean Rain', their moment of perfection, on their 'Ocean Rain' tour....

10 comments:

Moggieboy said...

Aye that just about sums it up.

Wonder if the remaining two gig will happen...?

jennifer said...

love this part: "In some ways I quite like it. Coldplay would never do something like this, neither would most bands who dress from Topman."

seriously love it.

rtmie said...

That's a real pity, I saw them in Dublin last Friday and they were outstanding, Mac on top form , superb show.
Bunnymen gigs in the old days were like that, you never knew if Mac would be incoherent or just a bit pissed. I'd thought he'd grown out of that.

lindylou said...

ive been to see them all over the uk and seen the amazing orchestral gig in liverpool a couple of years ago. truly an event. Was deeply saddened by last night. i think a refund is in order. if anyone hears anything, let me know...at least this time i didnt have to travel far, book hotels or anything otherwise i would be more furious than sad

smack said...

I heard on 6Music that they are going to play the remaining gigs. Have to say that I thought Mac's voice was suffering from the start - even before the alcohol kicked in. But I still enjoyed it.

alexa1e said...

On the afternoon of the Bunnymen gigs, Friday and Saturday, 16th & 17th December between 2pm and 3pm a meet and greet has been organised with Will Sergeant at Penny Lane Gallery, 38 Penny Lane, Liverpool, L18 1DG, This is a great chance to speak to Will in person and view the very first exhibition of his art. For further information contact Christine on 0151 733 4355."

alexa1e said...

On the afternoon of the Bunnymen gigs, Friday and Saturday, 16th & 17th December between 2pm and 3pm a meet and greet has been organised with Will Sergeant at Penny Lane Gallery, 38 Penny Lane, Liverpool, L18 1DG, This is a great chance to speak to Will in person and view the very first exhibition of his art. For further information contact Christine on 0151 733 4355."

alexa1e said...

On the afternoon of the Bunnymen gigs, Friday and Saturday, 16th & 17th December between 2pm and 3pm a meet and greet has been organised with Will Sergeant at Penny Lane Gallery, 38 Penny Lane, Liverpool, L18 1DG, This is a great chance to speak to Will in person and view the very first exhibition of his art. For further information contact Christine on 0151 733 4355."

alexa1e said...

On the afternoon of the Bunnymen gigs, Friday and Saturday, 16th & 17th December between 2pm and 3pm a meet and greet has been organised with Will Sergeant at Penny Lane Gallery, 38 Penny Lane, Liverpool, L18 1DG, This is a great chance to speak to Will in person and view the very first exhibition of his art. For further information contact Christine on 0151 733 4355."

alexa1e said...

I apologise for the duplication of the comments just posted - I have no idea why this happened!
But if you're in Liverpool at any time visit The Penny Lane Gallery - Wills exhibition is fab!
http://www.pennylanegallery.co.uk/