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Echo and The Bunnymen - Liverpool Empire, March 2024

ECHO AND THE BUNNYMEN LIVE IN LIVERPOOL – WHAT HAPPENED?

The stunning Liverpool Empire Theatre saw Echo and the Bunnymen return home for the first of two triumphant nights on Monday. 

Emerging a few fashionably minutes late onto an incredibly dark, smoke-filled and almost pantomine’sque stage the figures of Will Sergeant and Ian McCulloch, unmistakable with trademark shades and iconic hair, were greeted with a ceremonial welcome, befitting of kings of all that lay before them.

With a muttered ‘hello Liverpool’ from Ian McCulloch the band launched into ‘Going Up’ followed by ‘All That Jazz’. Once again he briefly welcomed the crowd before the band worked through a few more numbers, it was all a little sedate, a little too sedate. There was scant interaction or even acknowledgement between the band on stage, it all seemed quite strained and the atmosphere in the theatre felt a little odd for what should have been a celebration. 

‘Brussels is Haunted’ was introduced with a few words about David Bowie. It was a brief anecdote perhaps but it was, let’s be honest here, it was a little difficult actually to understand. it’s perhaps fair to say Ian McCulloch’s distinctive voice is becoming just as iconic when it’s not singing. 

As if out of nowhere ‘Never Stop’ and ‘Bring On the Dancing Horses’ had the venue erupting. The all-seater venue now witnessed dancing in the aisles and what appeared to be a very civilised gathering down at the front. Just as the party was starting to get going, and in true Bunnymen fashion, it was time to do things differently and have a twenty-minute break. This isn’t something I’m a fan of if I’m being perfectly honest but in this instance, it seemed well-received by both the fans and the band.

Twenty minutes or so later, the band are back on stage while the fans are still slowly meandering back from the bar. “Did you all have a bevvy? laughs McCulloch as the band kicks off the second half with ‘Show of Strength’ and ‘Over The Wall’… the fans are back to exactly where the first half ended, up on their feet, in the aisles, down the front.’Nothing Lasts Forever’ and ‘The Killing Moon’ are both very obvious highlights, and justly so before the band finished with ‘Lips Like Sugar’. 

This is the band the Bunnymen the fans have come to see and they are delighted, even more so when the band returns for two encores. Firstly ‘The Cutter’ before it is time for ‘Ocean Rain’ to wrap up what has been a rollercoaster of an evening. 

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