Concert Review: Erasure, September 11, Sound Academy


Photo and setlist from IKVDK

“I don’t know what it is, but there’s something about Toronto that makes me incredibly horny” – Andy Bell

For the past 27 years, the brilliant Vince Clark and Andy Bell have been a newspaper classified success story. Answering Vince Clarke’s call for a singer, Mr. Bell won the job, making them synth pop and LGBT heros, and Clarke’s longest running, most successful act.

I feel I should break this review down categorically, because there was a LOT going on in terms of interaction, sights, and sounds.

In a kind of mildly Gothic, genre-crossing stage explosion, the set consisted of a twisted round symbol, with Vince Clarke’s podium a gargoyle with glowing red eyes and an elevated stage section for the back-up singers. The result was part burlesque, part weird, and all fabulous. Clark donned a shiny red fedora and sequined red suit, the back-up singers wire feather headdresses and sequined red bustiers, and Andy Bell was clad in a fuschia sequined blazer and gladiator-esque helmet.

The intro was a slower number, making for Bell’s disrobing and revelation of a tight vest corset all the more dramatic. The crowd became looser and more inflamed with Always. Perhaps it was the revelation of his full bicep gun-show that did us in–but more likely it was the fact that his forceful voice sounds better than ever now.

One of the funniest parts of the show was when Vince had to physically cut Andy’s corset vest off while Andy exclaimed “He’s so sweet”. There was a short costume change into a simpler (and more comfortable) t-shirt and sunglasses, but not before a period of shirtlessness.

If there’s one thing that is evident about Andy, it’s that he isn’t at all shy, and thank GOD. For a guy who is 47, he’s also still a fantastic live frontman. Although we often lost track of his back-and-forth with those standing in the front row, the one thing that we always took back was that he thrives off the audience. There was a curious tendency of his to talk like a castrated Kermit the Frog while thanking the audience in-between songs, but I wonder if this was a source of voice preservation…

Unsurprisingly, the dance moves were flaylingly enthusiastic from all fronts. First, from all of the die-hard Erasure fans that had made the trek to the ill-located Sound Academy. Second, from the prancing muscular full body moves of Andy Bell.

You’d be hard-pressed to find a more belt-worthy chorus than from a classic Erasure song. From my favorite (Chorus) to Chains of Love to Love to Hate You and A Little Respect, there is nothing quite like singing out loud to Andy’s powerhouse chords. I also maintain that no one writes a more touching love song like an 80’s synthpop band.

These are two guys who can make you want to hear the same four lines endlessly for an entire song:

Chorus from CHORUS:
And they covered up the sun
Until the birds had flown away
And the fishes in the sea
Had gone to sleep

Chorus from ALWAYS:
I wanna be with you
And make believe with you
And live in harmony harmony oh love

Chorus from SOMETIMES:
Ooh, sometimes
The truth is harder than the pain inside, yeah
Ooh, sometimes
It’s the broken heart that decides

I’ve bolded my favorite moments from the show below–and although none of the newer songs are really included in there, it’s important for people to know that they are totally listen-worthy with beats that can compete with any new act.

SETLIST: (from Josh)

  1. Sono Luminus (Erasure – 1995)
  2. Always (I Say I Say I Say – 1994)
  3. When I Start To (Break It All Down) (Tomorrow’s World – 2011)
  4. Blue Savannah (Wild – 1989)
  5. Fill Us With Fire (Tomorrow’s World – 2011)
  6. Drama (Wild – 1989)
  7. You’ve Got To Save Me Right (Tomorrow’s World – 2011)
  8. Ship Of Fools (The Innocents – 1988)
  9. Chorus (Chorus – 1991)
  10. Breathe (Nightbird – 2005)
  11. Victim Of Love (The Circus – 1986)
  12. Alien (Loveboat – 2000)
  13. Push Me Shove Me (Wonderland – 1985)
  14. Love To Hate You (Chorus – 1991)
  15. I Lose Myself (Tomorrow’s World – 2011)
  16. A Whole Lotta Love Run Riot (Tomorrow’s World – 2011)
  17. Breath Of Life (Chorus – 1991)
  18. Chains Of Love (The Innocents-1988)
  19. Sometimes (The Circus-1986)
  20. A Little Respect (The Innocents-1988)


  1. Oh L’Amour (Wonderland-1985)
  2. Stop! (Crackers International-1988)

4.5 out of 5

Posted on by Allison in Concerts

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5 Responses to Concert Review: Erasure, September 11, Sound Academy

  1. josh

    Nice!!!! 4.5 Stars…..

  2. Mary

    I was one of the lucky ones in the front row! He told me I was HOT in front of 2000 people and that’s fine with me (I’m the same age as him…and NOT his preferred gender!). Unforgettable experience and worth driving a total of 9 hours in ONE day just to see them (and Toronto friends).

  3. Allison

    Were you the one who was asked for her age? I remember Andy saying “Wow, you look fantastic”. Stand proud, Mary!

  4. Hello

    Wow. You have a really good memory.

  5. Chet X

    Glad to hear his voice is solid. Erasure will be in St. Louis this week and it’s been a while since they have been here. Andy sings with such a dramatic range on his songs over the years that no one could still hit that range… but glad to hear he gets close. His voice on the recent Erasure at Royal Albert Hall was not his full range.

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