One song in, Ian McCullough, wearing sunglasses indoors and shouting at the sound guys to give them “less feedback and more bollocks”, it was what you would call Classic McCullough.
After a five year absence from Belfast, Echo and the Bunnymen made a return to the city on Tuesday night, for a gig at Mandela Hall.
This was my third Bunnymen gig, not bad for a band I thought i’d never see play live.
The first time I saw them was in May 2010 at Custom House Square. My most recent time seeing them was in April 2013, supporting James at SECC in Glasgow.
The current Bunnymen line-up, is the duo of Ian McCullough and Will Sergeant, Les Pattinson having left after their late 90s comeback and drummer Pete De Frietas dying in 1989.
They were supported by touring musicians, a guitarist and bassist stood to the left of McCullough, and a drummer and keyboardist buried behind amps. You might have been able to see them, but you could hear them.
Sergeant was stood to McCullough’s right and was in his happy place, stood on his own playing guitar, it looked as though he had a different guitar for each song, such was his collection.
The setlist was heavily drawn from their 1980s hits such as Rescue, Never Stop, Bring On The Dancing Horses, Bedbugs & Ballyhoo, Killing Moon and The Cutter. One of their hits, Seven Seas saw Ian McCullough mimic somebody swimming. That is quite a big deal for someone who doesn’t do many onstage theatrics.
Villier’s Terrace saw the crowd be treated to an inpromptu cover of Jean Genie by David Bowie.
It wasn’t the only cover they smuggled into their set included Take A Walk On The Wild Side (Lou Reed) which they amended to include Belfast and Merseyside references, Don’t Let Me Down (The Beatles) and Summer Wind (Frank Sinatra)
One cover that was on the setlist, intentionally, was People Are Strange (The Doors), which they recorded for the soundtrack of The Lost Boys.
After a Killing Moon/The Cutter finale, the band headed off stage, before returning for an encore, performing Nothing Lasts Forever (a curious title for a comeback single after a ten year absence) and Lips Like Sugar, to a rapturous applause.
The venue lighting didn’t immediately come on, giving fans hope for a second encore. They waited, and waited, and waited, before some men appeared on stage. They were roadies, dismantling the stage.
It was the only time all night the fans were disappointed.