Alarmingly, I haven’t yet got round to putting a Bunnymen post on this site.
I say alarmingly because Echo and the Bunnymen are the band I have seen the most – some 26 times in total.
I have seen them in fields, in tents, in clubs, at the home of Shakesperean theatre and in the Grade I listed neoclassical splendour of St George’s Hall.
I can only find the one ticket though so bear with me. It won’t all be about the one gig.
When I started my first job, the Bunnymen gave me an `in’ with a couple of the other staff as they were talking about having seen them at the Royal Court a few weeks earlier.
Having been at the same show I could confidently join in the conversation and set my stall out as a fellow lover of that slightly doomy, long overcoat-wearing turn of the Eighties scene.
I remember wearing a long overcoat to one of their gigs. In the standing section of the Royal Court this wasn’t the best idea I’ve ever had.
There’s a much longer essay to be written on the Bunnymen’s failure to become the biggest band in the world and I saw them on about 15 of those 26 occasions with the fervent belief and hope that’s what they would become.
Latterly, with just Will and Mac as the remaining members from the classic four-piece line-up, I’m content to see them run through their impressive highlights.
I never thought it possible that I would like someone more than The Smiths, but I play the Bunnymen’s records far more these days and Heaven Up Here would be in the Desert Island Top Ten albums.
I watch the YouTube clips of them at the Albert Hall in 1983 and marvel at what an amazing band they were and I was fortunate enough to be at the same venue when they did an anniversary show for Ocean Rain a couple of decades later.
I welled up when, during the title track, Mac dedicated the song to drummer Pete de Freitas who was killed in a motorcycle accident some 20 years earlier, and with the songs given the full orchestral string backing they sounded as good as ever.
There isn’t one show above all that sticks out. More moments from many of them.
In the rain at Glastonbury, at the end of the wonderfully silly Crystal Day that involved bike rides and tea at the Adelphi, standing next to magazine big cheese Mark Ellen in a tent at Cornbury, the comeback at Cream – they were all magnificent.
Seen them a pathetically flimsy twice myself; the first time from the top balcony of Liverpool Royal Court just after Shine So Hard and before Heaven Up Here I think, and then also at ‘The Court’ on Porcupine, one of the hardest albums to like that was ever made. Saw McCulloch solo a couple of times too.
Pete De Freitas was ace. I watched Crystal Day on The Tube just like everyone else.
My brother-in-law still goes all of the time too. Seen ’em loads. Funny old game, that.
I’m surprised it’s only twice. I would have been at that Royal Court gig myself.
The article header came from an NME interview when they were expressing how much less they were enjoying things the more popular they became. The interviewer said it was a paradox and Les gave the killer quote as referenced by the heading. Droll as ever.