Local Hype

Erasure Live in SF

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Erasure played March 21st at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, wowing the audience and restoring my faith in a band that I thought was washed up. I went to the concert with low expectations, not knowing how they would sound live. My friend and I decided to sit on the second level balcony area where there were chairs, not wanting to deal with the crowd on the first level.

The DJ/band that opened up for them was awful. The mixes of 80s songs weren’t impressive, but that part of the show was much better than the live act that followed. A lady with black hair and a tight outfit sang several generic pop songs, each sounding the same. She was joined on stage by a male dancer who was dressed in sweat pants and looked like he was doing aerobics during the abysmal numbers. It didn’t help that I had a headache that grew worse while watching them.

Finally Erasure took to the stage with Andy Bell dressed in a late 19th century gown, holding a fan like any proper lady and then proceeded to sing several slow songs including “Alien,” “In Your Arms,” “Ship of Fools,” and “Blue Savannah.” Andy danced surprisingly well in a dress and high heels, showing some leg in between the songs. He also started removing pieces of clothing.

Up in the balcony where we were sitting, the sound was muffled and mushy, also the crowd wasn’t too excited and their energy level was low. My friend decided to check out the lower level to see if it was better and he came back with good news. The first level was the exact opposite. Everyone was up dancing, drinking and having fun with a club-like atmosphere. The sound was clear and loud and we managed to weave our way to the front of the stage. By this time Andy was only wearing boots and tight shorts and was in surprisingly great shape, having bulked up, showing off his chest and abs.

A highlight for me was when he sang “Oh Lamour,” “Love to Hate You,” and “Breath of Life,” all in a row. Andy’s voice was spectacular, hitting all the notes and sounding as good as he does on the albums, which is even more impressive while he’s dancing around the stage. Vince Clark was quiet throughout the show, playing mostly the guitar and at one point allowing Andy to give him a kiss on the cheek.

During the couple days leading up to the concert, there had been massive anti-war demonstrations in San Francisco with many people arrested . Andy gave his support saying, “Three cheers for the peace protestors…yip yip hooray.” That was taken with mixed results as some cheered while others booed.

Other highlights were “Piano song,” “Always,” “Chains of Love,” “A Little Respect” and “Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me).” For the encore they did an acoustic version of “True Love Ways,” with Vince on the guitar, followed by the dance song “Stop.” The concert was so fun; I regret never seeing them before and hop to see them again soon.

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