Fulfil a lifetime dream to see Erasure live, CHECK! Last night, at the Usher Hall I witnessed the joyful spectacle of Erasure in all their unashamedly extravagant synth-pop glory. Dreams are so often better than reality, but not in this case. This was acoustic euphoria made by two of the best in the business.
Andy Bell, perhaps realising from his Glasgow gig that a corset doesn’t equate to comfort, this time opted for a yellow tank top adorned with a gorilla and checked trousers in the style of Rupert Bear. It suited him. He looked relaxed and happy. Vince of course, ever the epitome of Kraftwerk-style cool, stood in the semi-darkness, high on his podium in an immaculate grey suit and skinny tie; gazing down on us like a synth god. His machine-made sounds cascading onto us mortals below. His look was only momentarily disrupted by the unholy sight of him sporting a flashing tambourine during Who Needs Love Like That.
Two backing singers in matching neon dresses (a nod to the new album title, perhaps) and fierce vocals completed the ensemble, but other than that the set was impressively unshowy and minimal. The focus was clearly the songs, Andy and Vince’s tender-hearted lyrics and the pure joy of music and what it can do for the soul.
A psychedelic screen showed images of Earth, the sea and stars. The shower of hearts and cherry blossoms that accompanied Always made the room explode with love. It felt as though this song could singlehandedly change the world. Blue Savannah and Oh L’Amore had a similarly uplifting effect, showing off Andy’s utterly beguiling 4-octave voice (possibly one of the most underrated in pop) to full effect, soaring high to the ornate ceiling above.
Embracing their new songs, Nerves of Steel was synthy analogue happiness with a minor key chorus while Careful What I Try to Do‘s paired back electronica and heartfelt lyrics, “…and you came along at the perfect time, when I needed you…”, shimmered with hope.
But it was back to the ‘old skool’ that sent us into raptures. Erasure-bliss was in full flow with Chains of Love and my personal Valhalla, We’ll Be Together Again. Drama had us all shouting GUILTY! until we were hoarse. Of course, the night would not have been complete without A Little Respect. The encore we wished would never, ever end.
I was swept home on a wave of pop-infused nostalgia. This was a desperately needed, carefree dance-fest to some of the most iconic electronic music of its time. I feel blessed to be of the Erasure generation.