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Echo & the Bunnymen, Berlin @ the Pacific Amphitheater, August 7, 2015

Thanks to OC Weekly, I had slightly more central seats in Section 6 than the ones I originally purchased in Section 8 (those went to a friend). The Pacific Amphitheater is a large seated outdoor venue, but despite the size provides good views from all around.   It was probably a little farther back (Row S vs. C), but it wasn’t so bad visually and it gave me a chance to test out my camera’s optical zoom (20x).  Actually, my photos didn’t turn out as well as my videos, which is kind of to be expected.

Berlin had already started their set when we entered the venue, I think they’d already played “Metro” and we were seated during “Masquerade,” which really got the crowd dancing!  Terri Nunn still sounds and looks great, and really knows how to put on a good show. It looks like most of the band was younger, so probably no other original band members. I guess this kind of makes sense since she was the face and voice of the band. Of course, they played a lot of the hits like ‘Take My Breath Away” and “Sex (I’m a…)”.

During “Take My Breath Away”, Terri Nunn got on a security guard’s shoulders and moved through the crowd to get closer to the audience. Apparently, the security guard didn’t look very happy, but the crowd was thrilled. I hope he got a raise for that! Anyways, there was a new song played called “All For Love,” which I got a bit of on video. It’s sort of a sappy love song (as the title suggests), but not that bad. I didn’t record the whole thing because people were moving around too much in front of me (and talking a lot).

On to the Bunnymen! My last time seeing them was during the 2009 Ocean Rain tour (I know, too long ago), when I saw them at the Fox Theater in Oakland. I’ve usually seen them in theaters (and a couple House of Blues). This was my first time seeing them outdoors, and I have to say this may be the best way to see them. I haven’t seen them at festivals, so I don’t know if they enjoy playing that type of event.  I feel Echo & the Bunnymen have a sound suited for being under the stars, given the cavernous sounds that make them so distinctive.

Echo & the Bunnymen @ the Pacific Amphitheater on August 7, 2015I had gone to get some food after Berlin and was standing around the concessions areas probably until “Meteorites” started. The set seemed mainly focused on the more well known songs, which appealed a lot to the audience who did seem to know a lot of the words to them. Every so often, there would be breaks in songs for them to sing back. They really took Songs to Learn and Sing very literally!  This was mostly during “Seven Seas”, “Never Stop”, “The Cutter”, and “Lips Like Sugar.”  I’ve been told Orange County audiences are usually more into Echo & the Bunnymen than LA audiences (less hipsters, maybe?), and this was pretty noticeable.

Echo & the Bunnymen @ the Pacific Amphitheater on August 7, 2015Ian McCulloch had a few of his trademark rants between songs about Donald Trump, Liverpool being the epicenter of the world (I agree that it’s a pretty cool place), and it was amusing. He still has an amazing voice (even after years of smoking), but I think a lot of people appreciate his signature wit and humor (Mac the Mouth strikes again).  Watching Will Sergeant’s guitar playing is always a thing of beauty, it’s kind of hypnotic. The rest of the band was also excellent. I’m not as familiar with them, but according to Wikipedia, it’s Gordy Goudie on guitar and Stephen Brannan on bass. And an unknown drummer and keyboard player, who were also pretty impressive.

They all sounded great together and I only didn’t take more video because there were too many people standing, talking, or singing during most songs. “Over The Wall” is a real live favorite for a lot of Bunnymen fans, so I had to get it on video. It’s a darker track off  the Heaven Up Here album, which was actually the last one I heard of the original Bunnymen albums. Apparently, I really like it because I also recorded the end of “All My Colours.” My Blogger blog is still called Heaven Up Here, but I don’t really update it anymore. I also got the end of “Constantinople” from the latest album Meteorites (which came out last year) and shows they’ve still got some great songs in them!

Here’s the setlist (courtesy of Setlist.FM and the Portable Infinite):

Setlist:
Rescue
All That Jazz
Villiers Terrace / Roadhouse Blues
Meteorites
Seven Seas
Bedbugs and Ballyhoo
People Are Strange (The Doors cover)
All My Colours
Over the Wall
Never Stop
Bring On the Dancing Horses
Constantinople
The Killing Moon
The Cutter

Encore:
Nothing Lasts Forever / Walk on the Wild Side / In the Midnight Hour
Lips Like Sugar