The stage at the Observatory in Orange County was dark and the backdrop displayed a distorted bunny(man) as the iconic Echo and the Bunnymen made their entrance. As Ian McCulloch and Will Sergeant walked on stage, the crowd roared with excitemet. Echo and the Bunnymen were just now kicking off their North American tour, and they made their appearance cooler than ever.
McCulloch came out in his usual form. He was calm, cool and collected, donning black sunglasses and a stylishly messy ‘do. He played a couple songs and took a moment to walk back and light himself a smoke. He did another song with cigarette in hand. Given that he is a smoker you’d think McCulloch’s vocals would sound a bit weathered, lacking that smooth 80s sheen — but that was not the case. McCulloch’s voice was immaculate, and he seamlessly hit every note from songs written over 30 years ago.
The set was unfortunately a bit short. Echo and the Bunnymen came on stage at about 9:40 p.m. and ended just before 11 p.m.; however, they played all the songs you wanted to hear. From the brooding “Killing Moon,” to “The Cutter” and “Bring on the Dancing Horse” — Echo and the Bunnymen pleasured with all the hits. They ended their set (obviously) with their 1987 classic “Lips Like Sugar.” McCulloch did an extended version which was mind blowing. Judging by the looks and feels of the crowd, they did not want the show to end (and neither did I).
To add some extra spark to the show they played a couple medleys which included songs by David Bowie (“Gene Jeanie”), Lou Reed (“Walk on the Wild Side”), and The Doors (“Roadhouse Blues” and “LA Woman”). Sadly, Echo and The Bunnymen they did not play their rendition of The Doors’ “People are Strange” — needless to say, it was an impeccable performance through and through, however, a two-hour set would have been much more satisfying.
Words & Photography: Wes Marsala
Written for Grimy Goods, October 5, 2016