Saturday Night: Erasure At Verizon Wireless Theater
Over the course of their 25-year history together, British duo Erasure has recorded 13 albums, released 40 singles, and sold 25 million records. The pair is subsequently considered as one of the definitive architects of New Wave synth-pop music.
But Erasure has laid relatively low over recent years. Historically charismatic front man Andy Bell released a solo album, Non-Stop, and Vince Clarke, founder member of both Depeche Mode and Yaz, reunited with Yaz's Alison Moyet, releasing the album In Your Room in 2008.
After independently pursuing their separate aspirations, Bell and Clarke revived Erasure, a musical partnership they say was initially built and maintained by a strong friendship bond. Fourteenth album Tomorrow's World drops October 4.
One look at the Verizon stage Saturday night proved Bell and Clarke hadn't lost their dramatic creative flair. It was dressed with multiple vast gargoyle busts, Clarke's keyboard concealed behind the head of one buttress.
Erasure opened with "Sono Luminos," from their 1995 self-titled release, and went straight into audience-approved hit, 1994's "Always."
We'd seen Bell's solo show at Numbers in January; the Verizon vibe differed immediately, as the venue placed rows of seating in the entirety of its general-admission area. Any fan will tell you Erasure fans like to dance.
In fact, we'd argue it's damn near impossible not to dance during an Erasure show. While the seating situation hindered dance space and intimacy, a happy medium was reached, as the venue allowed some fans to approach the barricade-less stage, creating a sort of makeshift pit area.
Bell seemed to enjoy the proximity to his fans too, as he flirted and blew kisses to the crowd. "How are you doing tonight, Houston," he asked, removing his headdress, jacket, then his shirt - a black lace-up corset - unveiling an impressively toned physique, before pulling on a strategically tattered Devo tank top.
Bell seemed to let loose at this point (perhaps the helmet restricted his movement) warming up to the crowd, gracefully prancing around the stage like a ballerina in cowboy boots. Bell and the audience seemed to feed off one another; fans responded to his dancing and twirls, invigorated by his energy.
"I apologize to the front row, for they may get splashed with my sweat," Bell warned, though his fans didn't seem to mind, as they only cheered unconditionally in support.
Inescapably obvious throughout the set was the crowd's reaction to the group's old vs. new material; one could measure whether or not a song was "vintage" Erasure simply by watching whether the crowd sat down or stood up. This is only natural, but was made obvious by the fans' rare option of "taking a load off" in their seats.