Rolling out new material is always a risky proposition.
For veteran acts, especially one with as deep a catalog as electro-pop pioneers Erasure, serving up new songs to a faithful audience is usually like trying to get kids to eat their vegetables, sandwiched by fan favorites.
But not last night. At the first of its Terminal 5 shows (they play again tonight), Andy Bell and Vince Clarke played more than half of the forthcoming “Tomorrow's World” album, with Bell even declaring that they were going to do two new songs in a row. And why shouldn't they? “Tomorrow's World” sounds like a winner.
Though the first single “When I Start To (Break It All Down)” is another fine midtempo ballad, the rest of the new songs offered some nice surprises. “Fill Us With Fire” sounds like it could have come from “Wild!” in 1989, with its big, chugging beat and Bell's vocal flourishes. “You've Got to Save Me Right Now” is a lovely electro-soul ballad that makes the most of Bell's gorgeous voice, while “I Lose Myself” is a stomping dance number that shows the mark of Frankmusik, who produced the album as well as opened the show with an '80s-loving set of new wave. It could easily fit in next to La Roux or Ellie Goulding.
But it's “A Whole Lotta Love Run Riot,” a mammoth, four-on-the-floor production that could easily be a No. 1 for Lady Gaga or Britney Spears that brought the most excitement and a sign that Erasure could once again storm the pop charts.
Of course, with a show this good, Bell and Clarke have nothing left to prove. The reworking of their classics to better fit Bell's lower register gives them renewed power, as do the harmonies with their impressive backing singers. The wild new vocals on “Drama” gave one of their best-known songs so many unexpected twists it was like a roller coaster you want to ride again and again.
However, Bell and Clarke also know not to mess with the standards, pushing the capacity crowd to a sing-along frenzy with the set-ending hits “Chains of Love,” “Sometimes” and “A Little Respect.” It even has a happy ending, with the set's dark, ruined castle look, complete with gargoyles (one of which Bell has named Nancy Grace), giving way to a sunny, stained-glass effect when the night comes to close, fittingly, with "Stop!"
SETLIST: Sono Luminus / Always / When I Start To (Break It All Down) / Blue Savannah / Fill Us With Fire / Drama / You've Got To Save Me Right Now / Ship Of Fools / Chorus / Breathe / Victim of Love / Alien / Push Me Shove Me / Love to Hate You / I Lose Myself / A Whole Lotta Love Run Riot / Breath Of Life / Chains Of Love / Sometimes / A Little Respect // ENCORE: Oh L'Amour / Stop!
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