Cloaca Melodia

My life in concerts, by Mike Sauter.


Echo & The Bunnymen/Leather Nun

Bailey Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

I first heard Echo & The Bunnymen on record when I got to college and stated working at WICB in the fall of 1984. I fell in love with the 1983 Porcupine LP, especially the two lead-off tracks, "The Cutter" and "The Back of Love." Oh, and the live version of "Do It Clean," on which frontman Ian McCulloch starts singing The Beatles' "All You Need Is Love" during an instrumental break that DJ John Webber would often play on his "Radio Wave" show.

This was my first opportunity to seeing Echo live. My strongest memory of the show is a brief but powerful moment halfway through the concert. McCulloch was smoking cigarettes on and off throughout the show. While he was in the middle of singing one song, he stuck his arm out behind him and to his left, fingers dangling down. A stagehand crept swiftly out from the wing and tucked a lit cigarette into his fingers. And without even a glance behind him, McCulloch reeled in his arm and took a drag between the next pause between singing.

I told myself, "Now, that's a rockstar move!"

Leather Nun was a Swedish goth-y hard rock group which was an odd choice to open up this show. There was a core of Leather Nun die-hards in the front of one aisle during their set, pumping their fists in the air at every Nun beat. The new wavey Echo fans in the audience quickly ran out of patience for this mismatched opener and started hubbubbing more and more loudly during their set with boredom. Eventually the hubbub boiled over into catcalls. With each indignity to their heroes, the Nun fans punched the air with fists ever harder and higher in defiance. It was an amusing sideshow, but damn, were they abysmal to sit through.

I've never been able to turn up a set list for Echo's performance, but according to the article below, they played "Rescue," "Lips Like Sugar," "The Cutter," "Seven Seas," "Thorn of Crowns," and "The Killing Moon." Judging from the available set lists from the period, it seems likely the band played also played "All I Want," "The Back of Love," "Crocodiles," "Bedbugs and Ballyhoo," "All That Jazz," "Heads Will Roll," "New Direction," and "Do It Clean."

Labels: , , , ,