O2, London - 21 October 2021
epic set of 24 songs"
I am not a fan
of large venues and the 02 in Greenwich is one of the largest so it
needs to be a very special line up for me to go to a gig there (the
last time was for Soft Cells Farewell gig - and had I known I would
be seeing them again in November - who knows). But on this occasion
it was simply the chance to see two of my favourite acts on the same
The acts in
question being Blancmange and Erasure and I had to contrast the
setting for the evening with the last time I went to see Blancmange
at the small Colchester Arts Centre and the first ever Erasure gig I
went to at the Marquee in Wardour Street.
Blancmange set was a somewhat abbreviated version of the set they
played when headlining in Colchester, but Neil Arthur still managed
to engage the audience and provided a set which was a mix of early
1980’s Blancmange Living on the Ceiling, Feel Me Know,
Don’t Tell Me and a good mix of some later material including
Commercial Breakdown and What’s The Time (one of my
favourite recent Blancmange tracks).
obviously some 80's/late 70's fans in the audience as during Feel
Me Now Neil added his "Lal a lal la lal lal lal la, lal la
lal lal lal la, New York, London, Paris, Munich" and got the
response from the audience "Everybody talk about Pop Music".
Then came what I suspected would be the first Abba cover "The Day
Before You Came" with Neil singing to piano accompaniment -
very subtle and beautiful.
The setup was
very simple with Neil on vocals and a keyboard player and
percussionist to the side. As ever, it was the wit and entertainment
of Neil's inter-song comments that added to the performance.
Back in 1985
the setup for Erasure was, as I recall, Andy on vocals, Vince
sitting behind a Casio CZ1000 and CZ101 combination and a number
of pedestals which Andy introduced as the other band members an
Oberheim Expander, a Yamaha TX816 (8 DX7s in a rack) and a Yamaha
RX11 drum machine. A far cry from the set up for the evening with
dual swings and a children’s push around roundabout (which have
probably been banned now for health and safety reasons) alongside
a raised a dais on each side with a further higher dais at the
back which housed Vince’s keyboard and computer rig and acoustic
The set opened
with the Joe 90 theme and a projection of the 'Big Rat' on
the screens at the back - which kind of set the scene for the
entered the stage looking very much like an assistant bank manager
in a suit with white shirt and tie. While Andy sported a very
'understated' number, consisting of yellow checked trousers and a
blue corset (OK, maybe I lied about understated). They were joined
on stage by two backing vocalists dressed in very luminous gowns.
It was a very dazzling spectacle.
I will say
if you're an Erasure fan you certainly got value for money, as
they performed an epic set list of twenty four old and new songs.
Including a cover version of Love Is A Stranger by the
Eurythmics, but alas no Abba songs from Abbaesque, which
was my only slight disappointment for the evening.
way through the set came the major interaction by Vince with Andy,
when he cut him out of his corset with a pair of scissors, with
Andy making the comment "Is it that time already?!", and changing
into a yellow T-shirt replete with the Monkey selfie on it 😊.
For the encore
they were joined by the Funky Voices choir who had asked if they
could join during an online session amid lockdown and their request
was granted. This together with a ticker tape explosion at the end
completed the session.
If I have one
misgiving, I am still not convinced that Vince played much live
(although I could be doing him an injustice), but then when you have
the back catalogue of Erasure, The Assembly, Yazoo and Depeche Mode
(not to mention DOME, MGVC and Spectrum Pursuit Vehicle), I guess
you it would be churlish to question his abilities.
Intro: Joe 90
Theme, Chorus, Hey Now (Think I Got A Feeling), Fill Us With Fire,
Sacred, The Circus, Who Needs Love Like That, Nerves of Steel, Blue
Savannah, Chains of Love, Turns The Love To Anger, Careful What I
Try To Do, Sometimes, Save Me Darling, Shot A Satellite, Love to
Hate You, Love Is a Stranger (Eurythmics cover), Drama!, Always,
Stop!, Push Me Shove Me, Victim of Love, Encore: Oh l'amour
(with Funky Voices), A Little Respect (with Funky Voices)
9/10 / Erasure: 9/10 and Andy 10/10
if only for surviving 24 songs
+ Photos: Mark Smith