It’s been many years since the synth-pop legends Erasure played the Bournemouth International Centre. Since then they had fallen in and out of fashion. In 2021 they sound as relevant as ever.
With a back catalogue sparkling with hit singles seeing them live is always a treat to find out which of your favourites they are going to perform. It turned out pretty much all of them. Of course, this is not another legacy tour. Erasure are promoting last year’s album ‘Neon’ which harks back to their late 80s pomp. They sprinkled choice cuts from their latest record through a set list that covered the last 4 decades of the band’s audacious career.
Opening with the Joe 90 TV theme (for reasons unknown) Andy Bell bounced onto the stage wearing a blue corset, bright yellow tiger print trousers and blue tinted glasses. The stage glimmering with neon was flanked by raised platforms for Andy and his brilliant backing singers to dazzle us with costume changes and dance routines.
The ‘A Little Respect’ singer, in excellent voice, may not be the sprightly front man from yesteryear The high kicks and cat crawls are no more his voice sounded excellent, we were treated to the occasional flourish of dance alongside some high camp banter “about the difference between summer and autumn nipple sweat and how Squid Games is very inappropriate night-time viewing whilst on tour. Vince Clarke was the usual silent partner, though this didn’t stop Andy Bell from constantly asking him for recognition. I was quite struck by how little Vince plays live. He tended to play the root notes and set up the next sequence like an orchestrator.
The standout song choices were obviously the big hitters like ‘Chorus’, ‘Blue Savannah’ and ‘Sometimes’ but their latest material sat proud alongside their classic material. ‘Hey Now (Think I Got a Feeling) and ‘Shot a Satellite’ sounded fantastic even though Andy fluffed the introduction to the latter. He now has a trusty tablet by his side to remind him of the lyrics. After being cut free from his corset by Clarkes trusty scissors. We were even treated to a cover of The Eurythmics ‘Love is a Stranger’ though remixed to fit the Erasure model. Strangely they didn’t reference why they had chosen this and some of my fellow audience members asked if this was a new song!
The duo delivered a perfectly weighted set list that ended with ‘Always’, ‘Stop’ and ‘Victim of Love’ .The inclusion of ‘Push Me Shove Me from’ (1985’s Wonderland) may have suited to being earlier in the night. After the traditional short interval, the band returned to deliver a beautifully delivered ‘Oh L’ Amour’ followed by the one and only ‘A Little Respect’ .As the final notes rang around the arena some multi-coloured ticket tape showered down on to the audience and then it was all over in a flash. Hopefully it won’t be such a long wait until their next visit.