Erasure, O2 Academy, Birmingham - review with pictures
There was a striking absence of people glued to the tiny screens of their mobile phones - and instead a sea of fans were transfixed to the stage as arch showman Andy Bell held court at the O2 Academy.
Thirty years ago when the duo got together, The O2 Academy was The Dome nightclub; a glitzy mecca for the 80’s pop Erasure are famed for.
Today, the Academy’s fixtures and fittings are darker and more sombre, matching the more melancholic and reflective songs from their World Be Gone album.
A stunning, yet simple stage design of neon frames last night allowed the flamboyant Bell and fabulous backing singers Emma Whittle and Valerie Chambers to work all angles, but left Clarke and his keyboards almost completely out of sight until the very end.
Showing no ill effects whatsoever of the cold that caused the first three shows of their tour in Dublin to be postponed, singer Andy Bell opened the set with Oh L’Amour, sat astride a chair in a style reminiscent of Liza Minnelli in Cabaret.
Interspersing crowd favourites including Ship Of Fools, Victim Of Love, Always, Blue Savanna and Stop! - with the more reflective and melancholic recent material - Bell demonstrated what an incredible vocalist he is, and what a fantastic catalogue of songs he and Vince have amassed.
Never too precious to re-work other artists material, the group played a range of superb renditions; notably of ABBA, and their cover of Blondie’s Atomic was, well, Atomic.
Ending the set on a high with hit Sometimes, Vince finally descended from his lofty platform to perform an encore of A Little Respect, ditching the keyboard for guitar, and the trademark scowl for a beaming smile to send a very happy crowd home.
By Dave Cox