USHER HALL Edinburgh
November 15th 2021
The Light At The End Of The Tunnel Tour was how this gig was billed a reference to the Covid Pandemic crisis of the past couple of years. An almost full hall, filled with a palpable buzz of anticipation, awaited the return to a full concert production this band whose career spans forty-two years, nineteen albums and can be historically split into two eras. Way too much has been written about that in the past and so tonight was all about (mostly) era 2.
The gig opened with the title track of Sounds That Can’t Be Made from 2012. Always liked this song for the kind of dreamy vocal lines coupled with a solid drum back beat, stabbing almost robotic bass and keys so was very happy to have the live version getting into my soul. Further back in time and we get to hear King complete with the correct false start and Mr Hogarth holding a guitar in his outstretched arm (try it if you are brave and strong enough) before Beautiful from the same album.
So now we were beginning to get the idea that the evening was going to be a bit of a trawl through as many of phase 2 album highlights as it’s possible to fit into a show. Pete Trewavas was bouncing around with a huge grin on his face. Clearly he was relishing being back performing again. Over on stage left Steve Rothery, who continues to morph into a Burl Ives look-alike, is a master of all things lead guitar.
So the set continued through You’re Gone, The Party, Bridge segued into Living With The Big Lie and Runaway with the totally supportive crowd relishing every moment. Being a band noted for extended tracks with complex lyrical content I was in trouble as, from a totally personal point of view, I was having a bit of trouble concentrating as my seat was very, very uncomfortable. Oh well nothing I could do about that, just had to suck it up. Somewhat appropriately, as far as my bum was concerned, came with the only brand new song which I think was called Be Hard With Yourself. The main set concluded with the triplet of Berlin, The Release and Neverland.
It goes without saying that of course there would be an encore. They rather surprise me with the choice of the full twenty some minutes of The Leavers from the F.E.A.R. album. This truly complex suite, in five sections, had the audience enraptured. The band really had to work hard to accomplish all the different time signatures throughout the various parts. I am resolved to dig it out and play it on my show. It is as wide and varied as say Suppers Ready and in my view criminally under-appreciated. Mark Kelly’s keyboards were superb and underpinning the whole show Ian Mosley, at the back on drums, never put a beat wrong.
Encore 2 comprised Easter from the excellent Seasons End album from 1989 and finally appropriately, considering the location of the venue, Heart Of Lothian as the only nod back to phase one. A good night of live music appreciated by a devoted audience well served by their hosts.