If I was Philip Lowry, i’d be insisting that Echo and the Bunnymen perform at Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival, as they performed at the event for the first time since 2010, the last time he scored in an Irish Cup Final.
It wasn’t their first return to Belfast since then, stopping off in the city in 2015, but not since.
To the frustration of their Belfast fans, they made a visit to Dublin last year when touring their most recent album, The Stars, The Oceans and The Moon, an orchestral reworking of their greatest hits.
Fans in Belfast were treated to their greatest hits, but no orchestra, it was the crowd who provided the support, singing along to all of their favourites.
It was the weekend of Ian McCulloch’s 60th birthday, which took place two days after the concert, a section of the crowd signing Happy Birthday to him. I’m not sure if it was to celebrate his birthday. but he prepared for this gig with grub at Fish City.
It wasn’t the first time i’d seen a pop star on or around their birthday. In fact, it wasn’t even the first member of Echo and the Bunnymen, having seen them in Glasgow in 2013 the day after Will Sergeant’s birthday, when McCulloch got the crowd to sing Happy Birthday to him.
Outside of The Bunnymen, I saw The Kooks the day before Luke Pritchard’s 30th birthday in 2015.
Throughout the concert, McCulloch complained about having itchy feet, but that he wasn’t prepared to take his shoes off as it wasn’t a good look. Didn’t do Sandie Shaw any harm.
For some reason, some numpty in the crowd kept chanting “Pete De Frietas”. You know the sort, tedious bores who think they’re funny and that the band want to have “Banter” with them.
McCulloch corrected his pronunciation of “De Freetas” by pointing out it was “De Freytas”
Among the hits performed were Bedbugs and Ballyhoo, Rescue, Never Stop, Villiers Terrace, Nothing Lasts Forever, Seven Seas, The Killing Moon and The Cutter.
The version of Nothing Lasts Forever was a nice chilled out acoustic version of the song, one of a few songs which saw them deviate into snippets of covers of famous songs such as Jean Genie, Walk On The Wild Side, Don’t Let Me Down and Sex Machine
With so many big hits in the main set, it was interesting to see what they saved for the encore. They finished with Lips Like Sugar and Do It Clean.