Echo & the Bunnymen – York Barbican

Ian McCulloch and Will Sergeant enter the stage with their supporting artists and straight away the crowd erupts. Rightly so too, as the duo has kept their charisma after all these years and it’s not long before the band kicks off. The setting is perfect with a chandelier hanging above the stage and the arena is covered in the fog of dry ice.

By Zak Slater

I overheard a few people marvelling at Sergeant’s collection of guitars (a rack of eight or so sat next to him as he played) – he changed guitars before almost every song and yet the transitions were seamless. The evening started off as a seated music concert but by the end it had descended into joyful chaos, with crowds flocking down to the front of the stage to dance and scream and cheer as the group played hit after hit, all of which were as energetic and crisp as when they were first released decades ago.

McCulloch was a good laugh on stage as well, interacting with his fans and giving and receiving insults, jokes and memories with those gathered at the front. Generally, the atmosphere for the gig was just really positive, energetic and upbeat. What started out as a few die-hard fans dancing at the front snowballed into the entire auditorium standing, clapping and getting involved.

It was interesting to see the difference in the music to that of the new album, as while many of their old hits had been given a new, dreamlike makeover to match the theme of the album at the actual gig, the group played them exactly the way they were originally played. This seemed like much more of a throwback and a gift to the fans than them trying to push new material and the new songs that were included at the gig fit in perfectly well.

After stepping out into the Autumn cold and looking back at the psychedelic stage lighting, the warm and glowing atmosphere, and the attitudes from the band and the audience, it felt like I’d just spent the past couple of hours in some nostalgic dream. It seemed like the rest of the audience felt that way too, from hearing their reactions around us. All in all, it was an excellent concert by an excellent band.