Echo & The Bunnymen – Barrowland Glasgow 28th February 2022
A cold Monday night in Glasgow’s fair city, Echo and the Bunnymen were back in town for the first of two sold out re scheduled gigs in the iconic Barrowland’s Ballroom.
Support tonight was DJ Alan McGee, delivering a varied musical range that had the Glasgow crowd singing along, as the last track of his set was fading out, the excitement levels were growing thick and fast, creating a beautiful feeling within the venue. The time was drawing ever closer, dry ice blasting around the stage snaking its way across the front of the venue. The intro music, low and steadily grew into a crescendo, and just like magic the silhouettes of the band members could be seen as they took their positions on the stage. Ian (Mac) McCulloch, the bands frontman, stood large and proud, looking out into the sea of faces, the Glasgow faithful had turned out in force once again in a sold out Barrowlands Ballroom. The wait was now over, the stage lights shone brightly creating the magic moment of audience meeting band, this was the night 40 years of music from the Liverpool band would be celebrated, and this Glasgow crowd were ready, willing and eager to embrace all the band were going to deliver.
As the opening chords of the first track Going Up from Crocodiles started, the crowd in party mode were jumping and singing along. The band have surely started the ultimate celebration of their 40th anniversary tour right here in the iconic Glasgow Barrowlands. Next up the excellent Show of Strength from the bands Heaven Up Here album, was received to great applause. This was shaping up to be a special night as Ian, in top form enjoyed the atmosphere and the Glasgow audience singing word for word with him.
The stage filled with dry ice gave a special feeling to the show, the lights on the stage gave luminous intensity to Ian’s face through the smoke, the silhouette, standing at the mic created a god like presence with the audience gathered below and in front of him. The opening of the set really set the tone of what was to come from the band, delivering classic after classic including Flowers & Rescue before the ultimate sing a long with the excellent Bring on the Dancing Horses. Ian, standing back from the mic looking out into the crowd in full appreciation of the glorious sound of singing from the Glasgow crowd. It had reached the point in the set where the vast majority of the audience knew the songs, hand in the air, as they sang word for word the excellent Over the Wall, All my Colours (Zimbo), Seven Seas and Bedbugs and Ballyhoo.
The fans were treated to a new song entitled Brussels is Haunted, as Ian said to the crowd it should be Glasgow is Haunted. The song fitted in well with its catchy chorus, would be a fitting addition to future set lists. After this is was an ultimate Bunnymen party with the big guns rolling out with Villiers Terrace, the excellent Roadhouse Blues fitting in nicely to the song, the audience in full voice, singing nearly the whole song with Ian throwing in a few words here and there to Nothing Lasts Forever with a snippet of Lou Reed’s Walk on the Wild Side. As the set neared the end Ian treated the Glasgow crowd to a stunning version of Never Stop. A crowd-pleasing version of Lips like Sugar was a sure fire winner, before Ian and the band left the stage for a much-needed short break.
Returning to the stage to a roaring applause for an encore, they were joined on stage with Billy Coyle who presented the band with their Hall of Fame award for the venue, you could see with the look on Ian and Will’s face they were shocked by the award and over the moon, they delighted the crowd with the excellent The Cutter, before closing the show with what Ian classed as the best song ever written, from the Lost Boys movie, the excellent The Killing Moon, the venue erupted into full voice taking the roof of the famous Barrowland Ballroom. The band waved to the audience and left the stage, some thinking this was the end started to leave the venue, stopping as they noticed the lights still down, movement was still evident on stage. The dry ice filling the stage gave the game away, you knew they were coming back out.
Within a few minutes they were all back on stage to a loud applause. The entire band, absorbing the cheers of the audience, delighted them with a stunning version of the epic Ocean Rain. It was a special way to end a special night of music in the venue. Celebrating 40 years of hard work that has seen them tread the stages of most venues across the city but to play the legendary Barrowland Ballroom is always a special place in the hearts of many bands from all eras. The Bunnymen at the Barrowlands never disappoints, as they go hand in hand. If you get a chance, head to a show on this tour, it will not disappoint, you will be in for a roller coaster ride of emotion as the band delivers a classic set of songs to celebrate the 40 year anniversary.
Review by Karen Edmond