Dust Motes / English Beefcake / Just Like Fred Astaire / Waltzing Along / Seven / Dream Thrum / Quick And The Dead / Johnny Yen / How Was It For You / We’re Going To Miss You / Sound / Of Monsters And Heroes And Men / Interrogation / Five-O / Moving On / Sit Down / Born Of Frustration / Come Home / Getting Away With It (All Messed Up) / Sometimes / Laid
Echo And The Bunnymen
The last of three gigs in a row, Bristol Colston Hall is sold out and the standing area rammed full.
The band take to the stage at 9 and Tim tells them that they’re going to start with a slower song to test their listening, which is befitting of the more glamorous surroundings than the O2 Academies of the previous two nights.
Dust Motes sounds beautiful with an interesting reverb effect on Tim’s vocals and the crowd stay mainly quiet and respectful. It’s followed English Beefcake, which again has been nailed. For Just Like Fred Astaire, Tim goes out into the audience on walkabout, getting kissed on the head as he makes his way through to the back of the standing area.
Waltzing Along speeds the tempo up a little, its rocked-out extended intro again leading into the much-improved heavier version. Seven is every bit the huge hit it should have been, with it’s chorus call of “understand the world we’re living in, love can mean anything”. Dream Thrum slows things down again and has some beautiful Saul violin in it. In the soundcheck it’s remarked that Saul is a reluctant violinist, but at some points tonight he absolutely steals the show.
Quick And The Dead is the first of the new songs and already sounds a world away from how it did a week ago in Stirling. It has a charming almost nursery-rhyme quality to it and a simple “dodge the bullet, rejoice” calling card
Johnny Yen makes a return to the setlist after a bit of an absence. Although beforehand, Saul starts playing his intro riff to How Was It For You, getting ahead of himself. True to the tour, it has some re-invention, this point in the middle improvised section which is slower and more instrumental than previous versions.
We do then get How Was It For You making a welcome return to the set after what seems like forever. Saul’s opening riff sets the mood for a fun romp through an old favourite. It’s followed by another old single that was neglected live for years. We’re Going To Miss You was resurrected for the orchestra tour and stuck in the set for this tour. It’s one of those classic James singles (ruined by an awful single edit) that everyone knows, but hardly anyone bought. Sound gets a warm reception, and benefits again from being shorter than the set-closing epics of previous tours.
Of Monsters And Heroes And Men is the Hey Ma song that has been most played in recent years and with good reason. It never disappoints as it broodily builds and ebbs and flows. It’s followed by Interrogation, which is one of those classic James non-single tracks that have an unusual structure without a verse-chorus-verse pattern, which is developing show by show as they become more familiar with it.
Five-O starts with an incredible extended intro with violin with some subtle trumpet, keys and bass backing, but it’s Saul that steals the show over several minutes as Tim sits on Dave’s drum riser and just watches in awe at his bandmates. Moving On is again the pick of the new songs, sounding every bit the big single in waiting.
The set is then completed by six of their most famous songs. The crowd sing along to Sit Down in the right places, Born Of Frustration benefits from the rockier take the band are approaching their back catalogue with and Come Home is as mesmerically insane and all over the place yet still together as it always is. The encore starts with Saul chiding Stuart Pearce for saying there weren’t enough hits last time they played here. Getting Away With It precedes a slightly all messed up Sometimes, which they have given a rawer edge and dispatched with the singalong. Laid is as wild as ever to close the set off.
Overall it was a lot more subdued than the Glasgow and Newcastle shows, partially down to the seats, the audience being quieter but also the setlist chosen for the evening and possibly the fact it was third night of a stint. Despite that it was an interesting set with a few songs new to the tour and a different running order.