Sunday, May 1, 2011

Echo & the Bunnymen: January 29, 1988

Like the INXS show I recently posted about, this was another fairly intimate show at the University of Michigan's Hill Auditorium that I feel fortunate to have seen. This turned out to be the last tour by the classic lineup of Echo & the Bunnymen that included drummer Pete de Freitas, who died in a motorcycle accident in 1989. Having endured a number of personnel changes and a hiatus, the Bunnymen are active today, but only guitarist Will Sargeant and singer/guitarist Ian McCulloch remain of the '80s version of the group.

The opening act was the Leather Nun, whose affected abrasiveness provided a very odd counterpart to the Bunnymen's slightly psychedelic pop. The Bunnymen were in good form and played many of their singles, including "Lips Like Sugar" and "Bedbugs and Ballyhoo" from their then-recent eponymous album. I remember them really rocking "Do It Clean," from their debut, Crocodiles. I also remember a girl in front of us who danced in a crazed way during certain songs, then would basically collapse into her seat for awhile.

As we often did for shows at Hill Auditorium, my friend and I waited out back to sneak a peek at the band as they boarded their tour bus. I remember McCulloch looked really worn out and not particularly happy. And that was likely the case; he left the band later that year to launch a solo career.

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