|Rod of Bright Light Bright Light|
We were bathed in red light as we entered Newcastle's iconic music venue. The PA was playing the best-known 80s electronic hits.
Since our last visit venue has a new security firm which seems more customer focussed and drinks are now allowed in the venue itself. The bar and toilets have been altered and refurished. Whilst the ladies appears to be much bigger the queues were still in evidence at the interval. At least it was a step in the right direction. Taking out the dividing walls creates a bigger bar drinking area and it feels more like a modern club rather than a strange basement affair.
Bright Light Bright Light were the support. The lead singer Rod Thomas was clothed in a magnificent fluorescent rainbow suit. He has a strong mellow voice reminiscent of Paul Young. Bright Light Bright Light is a 3-piece made up of drummer, keyboards and sax and electronic effects pads from Rod. The first song was a joyous number with Jamaican steel drum sound on the keyboards. The third song Symmetry Between 2 Hearts had a big 80s style sound. For Little Bit. Rod got his sax out for the intro. This South Wales band would not look out of place at Colognes Amphi Festival. The last song was Running Back To You. This song, originally recorded with Elton John really builds up into a big power ballad. Bright Light x2 were are superb support act for Erasure. The new album: Choreography certainly seems worth a listen.
Erasure came on with the glamorous backing singers in silhouette to the theme from Tales of the Unexpected. Andy Bell at on a chair for the first song Oh l'Amour but the whole venue was up dancing. Between songs, Andy kept up the witty remarks and self-effacing humour which added to the jovial atmosphere. Ship of Fools was another big sing-along song.
New songs such as Just a Little Love from the new album World Be Gone fit in seamlessly with classic hits. No worries about his voice after laryngitis earlier in tour. I personally felt Andy sounded better live on this track than on the album version of the song. He's still vocally, as powerful as ever.
Vince Clarke stayed at the top of the set in an "engine room" for most of the show. Whereas some 80s stars say very little in their set, here we get emotional interludes between the songs as Andy interacts with the loving audience
It is always a balancing act between promoting the new material and giving the audience the greatest hits. It is knowing when to slot in that up tempo classic to restore the energy in the room. I Love Saturdays sat happily next to Who Needs Love Like That? Blue Savannah was a song I forgot I'd liked and it had the audience singing along. A surprise cover was Blondie's Atomic. And the hits kept coming with Stop and the perfect set closer Sometimes. Vince came down with his guitar for the uplifting encore Respect. An Erasure fan couldn't have asked for much more. Nice work lads!