Concert Review: Echo & The Bunnymen, August 12, Danforth Music Hall


Echo and the Bunnymen were in town to promote their new record Meteorites, their first release in five years. The show represented some sort of personal landmark for me. Echo was the first show I went to after moving to Toronto in 2003. At that time, I was a fresh faced youth, with the world in the palms of his hands. Now it’s 11 years later, and I am now the grizzled veteran, looking at the youth with equal parts envy and disdain much like I’m sure how old people looked at me earlier in my lifetime. Only problem was, looking around the Danforth Music Hall, there wasn’t many youthful people for me to look at with displeasure.

You know, I’ve been to a lot of old people shows lately. The last two shows I went to have been Lionel Richie and Echo and The Bunnymen, both of whom were most popular in the eighties, when I was but a little Asian child. How did it get to this? I don’t know. After witnessing Echo & The Bunnymen charm the hell out of the crowd on Tuesday, I will say that I enjoy old people shows.

Reasons why I enjoy old people shows

Relaxed Security
Unfortunately, security guards are a necessity at most shows but their behaviour is often dictated by the crowd. As mentioned in my Lionel Richie review, security guards at old people shows are very nice and friendly. Most of the time they are there to ensure you find your way and also, to save you in case of a heart attack or something. Compare this to a bodyguard at an Odd Future show and you will find a much different attitude.

Personal Space
Old people love their personal space. These are people who for the most part move to places called suburbs where they can put massive patches of grass and wood in between them and other people. At an old person show, everyone has ample room. No one is interested in touching each other for the sake of getting a better view. The view is darn fine wherever they are.

Set times
Musicians who play to old people respect their crowd’s desire to get in a relatively early night. This is not a night at the Hoxton where the DJ shows up at 12:30 on a Tuesday night and plays until 3. Shows of this variety start with an opener at 8, and the main act at 9. The show allows you to go to a nice dinner with friends right after work and also allows you to get home before midnight. Since old people go out rarely, that is probably a big night out (oh mi gosh! we are still up at 11:30 pm!)

Old People
It totally gives me strength to see old people at concerts. I mean my god, if they are still going strong in their 40’s, what excuse do I have for not doing anything? They are having so much fun too. It’s totally inspiring. Most of them were even dancing. As a man who is quickly realizing that you can never escape time, it is definitely a good thing to see. Also, if you are of a friendly nature, you can make friends with the crowd and add them to linkedin after. They might hire you at some point.

Set Lists
Bands that have been around for a long time have very deep discographies. However, by the time a band reaches their third decade in the biz, they know exactly what the template should be. It is this:

Opener: New song
2nd/3rd song(s): Somewhat popular classics (get crowd going)
Next few songs: Mixture of new and old
Last bunch of songs: Singalongs and all time classics.

It’s a proven formula. Let’s take a look at Echo’s set list for the night:
Meteorites – new song
Do It Clean
Never Stop
People Are Strange
Seven Seas
Bedbugs And Ballyhoo
Holy Moses – new song
All My Colours
Over The Wall
Constantinople – new song
All That Jazz
Villiers Terrace/Roadhouse Blues
Bring On The Dancing Horses
The Killing Moon
The Cutter

Nothing Lasts Forever/Walk On The Wild Side/Don’t Let Me Down/In The Midnight Hour
Lips Like Sugar
Ocean Rain

Perfect execution of a perfect template.

As you can tell by the track list, the show was heavy on the hits. Meteorites is a solid opener to the show and shows an elegant almost orchestral side of Echo. The one thing I didn’t feel too strongly about was the band’s tendency to mute instruments for the choruses on their popular songs to allow for singalongs. I found the volume change to be harsh at times and let’s face it, Echo & the Bunnymen were never really known for their poetry. It seemed odd to mute the sounds that made them popular. The band also may have overestimated the crowd’s ability to sing along to some of the songs. Take the track Bring on the Dancing Horses for example. A great song, but even I don’t have the chorus completely memorized, which led to quite a disappointing singalong, which was amplified by the muted music. Ian Maculloch even took the time to say “That was shite”. The crowd did get it right for The Killing Moon, the band’s most iconic song.

Overall the show was quite good. Ian Maculloch’s voice showed signs of wear and tear but he was able to reign it in for the hits. That’s all that really matters anyway, and the crowd went home happy. The show ended at 10:45 and I was home at 11. A perfectly acceptable adult night out.

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts

About Ricky

Britpop lovin Chinaman, consumer of all things irrelevant. Toronto Raptors fan.