CONCERT REVIEW : Echo and The Bunnymen – Usher Hall Edinburgh 14th September 2023

Last night, the crowd gathered in Usher Hall was treated to an incredible evening of music that may never be repeated in this particular arrangement. Those in attendance will undoubtedly have indelible memories of this incredible concert etched deep into their musical minds. It is strongly encouraged not to miss out on seeing this tour solely for nostalgic reasons. This was a terrific night filled with new experiences, showcasing a band that is still at the top of their game. The beautiful Usher Hall in Edinburgh offered a dramatic backdrop for the remarkable partnership between Echo & The Bunnymen and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra as they brought the timeless Ocean Rain record to life. Given the sold-out state of the arena and the presence of ardent admirers who had journeyed from all over to see this spectacular performance, this evening promised to be exceptional.

The evening began with a riveting performance by Erica Nockalls, who captivated the audience with her superb solo music. Her music’s energetic and rhythmic undertones faintly resonated with aspects of EBM, attracting and retaining the audience’s entire attention throughout her brief but outstanding presentation. Erica concluded her performance and bid farewell to the Edinburgh crowd, extending an invitation for a meet-and-greet at the merchandise stand.

Echo & The Bunnymen triumphantly returned to the Edinburgh stage, beginning their show with an enthralling selection of their best hits. As the opening chords of the “Going Up” resonated through the air, the room was electrified with anticipation. Ian McCulloch emerged from the ethereal shroud of dry ice, as the iconic Bunnymen shape burned in a flaming red colour at the back of the stage. Will Sergeant’s expertise under the limelight provided the unique sound that distinguished Echo & The Bunnymen.

The band captured their audience with an incredible performance, as they flawlessly played through their popular hits like “All That Jazz,” “Rescue,” and “Bedbugs and Ballyhoo.” As the music filled the venue, supporters began to rise to their feet, dancing and singing along. The crystal-clear sound echoed throughout, adding to the whole experience. Mac interacted with the audience between songs. Notably, they performed a fantastic rendition of “All My Colours (Zimbo),” which was followed by a legendary melody that included “Nothing Lasts Forever,” as well as portions from “The Fountain,” “Sweet Jane,” and an outstanding rendition of “Walk on the Wild Side.” The band continued their performance with “Nothing Lasts Forever.”

The band finished the collection of their hit songs with an excellent  version of “Never Stop” before breaking into the enthralling melody of “Bring On The Dancing Horse.” As the band gracefully exited the stage for a brief interval, the audience remained fully engaged, utterly thrilled, and properly stimulated, clearing the way for the much-anticipated segment dedicated to their legendary album, ‘Ocean Rain’.

The electrifying enthusiasm pervading the audience reached an unparalleled level when the band triumphantly returned to the stage. The Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra had methodically placed themselves in perfect shape, with their music stand lights producing a gentle yet mesmerising glow that served as a backdrop for the band. Each band member made their grand entry through a haze of enchanting dry ice, to an immensely ecstatic welcome from the audience. The stage was perfectly set for the historic performance of the full Ocean Rain album, ensuring an amazing experience for all in attendance.

  • Echo & The Bunnymen - Usher Hall Edinburgh on the 14th September 2023
  • Echo & The Bunnymen - Usher Hall Edinburgh on the 14th September 2023
  • Echo & The Bunnymen - Usher Hall Edinburgh on the 14th September 2023
  • Echo & The Bunnymen - Usher Hall Edinburgh on the 14th September 2023
  • Echo & The Bunnymen - Usher Hall Edinburgh on the 14th September 2023
  • Echo & The Bunnymen - Usher Hall Edinburgh on the 14th September 2023
  • Echo & The Bunnymen - Usher Hall Edinburgh on the 14th September 2023
  • Echo & The Bunnymen - Usher Hall Edinburgh on the 14th September 2023
  • Echo & The Bunnymen - Usher Hall Edinburgh on the 14th September 2023
  • Echo & The Bunnymen - Usher Hall Edinburgh on the 14th September 2023
  • Echo & The Bunnymen - Usher Hall Edinburgh on the 14th September 2023
  • Echo & The Bunnymen - Usher Hall Edinburgh on the 14th September 2023
  • Echo & The Bunnymen - Usher Hall Edinburgh on the 14th September 2023
  • Echo & The Bunnymen - Usher Hall Edinburgh on the 14th September 2023
  • Echo & The Bunnymen - Usher Hall Edinburgh on the 14th September 2023
  • Echo & The Bunnymen - Usher Hall Edinburgh on the 14th September 2023
  • Echo & The Bunnymen - Usher Hall Edinburgh on the 14th September 2023
  • Echo & The Bunnymen - Usher Hall Edinburgh on the 14th September 2023
  • Echo & The Bunnymen - Usher Hall Edinburgh on the 14th September 2023
  • Echo & The Bunnymen - Usher Hall Edinburgh on the 14th September 2023
  • Echo & The Bunnymen - Usher Hall Edinburgh on the 14th September 2023
  • Echo & The Bunnymen - Usher Hall Edinburgh on the 14th September 2023

The audience erupted in applause when the opening chords of Silver were played, encouraging them to leap to their feet and join in the dancing and singing. The perfect collaboration between the orchestra and the band highlighted the fine elements in each song, especially Nocturnal Me and Crystal Days, where Mac’s vocals were as astonishing as on the original record. Ian and Will evidently loved the chance to return and play the epic album with full orchestral arrangements. The inclusion of notable pieces such as The Yo-Yo Man and Thorn of Crowns, which are rarely seen on setlists these days. The Ocean Rain section of the show ended with an exhilarating rendition of The Killing Moon, accompanied by a magnificently illuminated moon backdrop bearing the Bunnymen insignia. My kingdom’s stunning new arrangements were nothing short of miraculous. The night concluded with the title track, leaving the audience in full voice and ensuring that the Edinburgh audience had a great experience. As the band left the stage, it was clear that this was not a final farewell, but rather a promise of more to come.

The band triumphantly returned to an explosive greeting from the audience after a brief interval during which the orchestra skilfully cleared the stage. As fans ecstatically saw their idols, the deafening noise level within the auditorium reached its peak. The band wisely chose to begin the encore with  Lips Like Sugar, instantly mesmerising the crowd. Despite briefly leaving the stage, they quickly returned to play The Cutter, unquestionably the top of their repertory. It was a necessary inclusion, as no concert experience would have been complete without the band’s iconic single, which amplified the night’s amazing mood.

Last night, the fortunate audience gathering at Usher Hall was treated to an incredible evening of music that may never be recreated in this specific configuration. Those in attendance surely left with indelible memories of this extraordinary concert, imprinted deeply into their musical awareness. It is strongly advised not to pass up the opportunity to see this tour simply because you are nostalgic. This was an unforgettable night filled with fresh experiences, showcasing a band that is still at the top of their game. Last night’s lucky audience at Usher Hall was treated to an extraordinary evening of music that may never be replicated in this same arrangement again. Those who were there will undoubtedly have indelible recollections of this remarkable concert etched deep into their musical imaginations. It is strongly encouraged not to miss out on this tour just for the sake of nostalgia. This was a terrific night full of new experiences, highlighting a band that is still at the top of their game.

Review by Karen Edmond

Photographs by James Edmond Photography

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