Considering they are one of my favourite bands of all time I'm not really sure why I have never done a post on Echo And The Bunnymen before. Sadly this was not the post I intended but is a review of sorts of the "show" they performed last night at the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow.
Ocean Rain is,for me, one of the greatest albums made by any band and last night was a one off opportunity to see and hear it performed in its entirety accompanied with strings.
From the off it was fairly obvious to everyone attending that Ian McCulloch had enjoyed a bevvy or three before coming onstage. The show was split into two parts with the first being a 40 minute set comprising mostly classic Bunnymen tunes such as Rescue, Dancing Horses and a terrific version of Never Stop. So far so good. During this part there was a lot of banter between McCulloch and the crowd, most of it lighthearted and in no way shape or form did it affect the performance.
I have no idea what occurred during the interval before the band re-appeared to "perform" Ocean Rain. McCulloch's mood had changed completely and instead of banter we had him challenging members of the crowd to come on the stage for a fight and generally being abusive to sections of the crowd. His ramblings between songs were largely incoherent, some lyrics were forgotten and most tracks were not finished. Sadly it got worse with McCulloch storming off stage seemingly due to him not liking the crowd's singing. There was quite a lot of abuse being thrown at him from the crowd also but most of it was understandable in the circumstances.
After about 20 minute the band re-appeared with only the pinnacle of the album still to play. Instead of the band playing Ocean Rain, however, they played The Killing Moon again at McCulloch's request. Then the most bizarre twist of the evening occurred when he walked over to where Will Sergeant was playing guitar and after watching him for a few seconds threw his mic down whilst berating Sergeant and then exiting stage left leaving the rest of the band and the six piece string section not knowing whether he would return. As there was no sign of that the show was effectively over.
In the end we did not get to hear the mighty Ocean Rain but sadder than that was the condition of McCulloch himself who was in no fit state to perform for whatever reason.
I have over the years seen Echo and The Bunnymen live more than any other band and, for me, they are still one of the best bands that Britain has ever produced and one of the best live acts I have seen but after last night I'm not sure how much longer we will see them perform for.
Ocean Rain was proclaimed by McCulloch upon it's release as "the greatest album ever made" and although that may not be entirely accurate it is certainly up there with other great albums and deserves it's place at the top table.
I just hope that Ian McCulloch can sort himself out and that we still get the chance to see Echo And The Bunnymen play live like only they can.