Erasure, The Roundhouse, London – October 25th 2011
I first saw Erasure on The Innocents tour in 1988 at the Hammersmith Apollo. Back then, Andy Bell was a blur of glitter and glamour, belting out the group’s hits while camping it to the max. For a teenager from Southend, this was about the most intoxicating event I’d ever witnessed – and over 20 years on Vince and Andy still have the power to captivate, as witnessed at The Roundhouse on Tuesday. Sure, there might not be as many costume changes or hi-energy dancing, but Erasure’s core remains intact – smart pop songs shot through with Bell’s epic vocals and a whole heap of camp gadding about…
The first thing that struck on Tuesday night was how buff Bell looked, muscles bulging as he slipped off his jacket to reveal his toned torso wrapped in a black waistcoat. “This is my neck of the woods,” he told the crowd after the first couple of openers including Always and stellar newbie When I Start To Break It All Down. “I’ve spent the last 30 years trolling up and down Camden High Street trying to keep out of trouble – it sometimes works…” he grinned.
The evening shuttled with synth-like stealth between tracks from new album Tomorrow’s World and a slew of old classics – and let’s face it, Erasure have a myriad to choose from having scored 24 consecutive top 20 hits in the UK over a ten-year timespan. It was those that the crowd had come to hear but everyone welcomed the newer offspring too, including I Lose Myself and Whole Lotta Love Run Riot, before breaking out their 80s dance moves for classics like Victim Of Love, Love To Hate You, Drama and Chorus. For Victim Of Love, Vince stepped out from behind his keyboard and joined Andy front and centre, his red guitar matching his suit.
Bell proved he’s still a star performer, eyeballing the crowd while wowing them with his deeply theatrical voice that ran the gamut of octaves throughout, starting low and hitting the heights on the likes of A Little Respect. And such a jet-propelled evening ended explosively with the quintet of Chains Of Love, Sometimes, A Little Respect, Oh L’Amour and Stop! sending the crowd into rapture. Tight synthpop and the 80s is back in vogue again, but nobody does it as well as Erasure.