Technically Erasure was in the house. While it was Andy Bell who headlined this summer’s Regeneration Tour, the annual ’80s throwback party, musical maestro Vince Clarke was allegedly in the audience at Irving Plaza. This was the very first stop of the tour, and what better crowd to iron out the kinks than New Yorkers.
Howard Jones was one of those artists in the ’80s that I didn’t pay much attention to; however, I do remember wearing out his Action Replay cassette in 1986, particularly the dream weavy “Hide and Seek.” Howard lives in the countryside of England these days, but he did have some fine hits in the day. “Life in One Day,” “No One is to Blame,” “What Is Love?” and an acoustic “Everlasting Love” were great, but my favorites were “New Day” and his biggest hit, “Things Can Only Get Better.” A solid show, but things did get better when Mr. Bell took the stage.
Andy Bell has one of the finest voices in pop music, in my humble opinion. His debut single “Crazy” as a solo artist still makes my heart race. Every one of the songs he performed except for “Electric Blue” were Erasure songs — from classics (“Chains of Love”) to fan favorites (“Drama”). Bell is a true showman who is unafraid to share the stage with two amazing backup singers and dancers sporting giant beehives and more poses than a B-52s/Madonna mash-up concert.
Highlights of Mr. Bell’s set included “When I Start to Break It All Down” from Erasure’s criminally underrated 2011 album, Tomorrow’s World. It’s a quintessential Erasure song with a dramatic crescendo allowing Bell’s voice to soar. “Stop!” and “Ship of Fools” were also well received by the crowd, but it was my favorite Erasure song, “Blue Savannah” that had me grinning ear to ear. I love this song (check it out below). My other picks for the night was 1994’s “Always” and their biggest hit ever, “A Little Respect.” A little respect, indeed.
Here are a few of my favorites from Andy and Howard: