Ex-BAUHAUS singer’s solo flight from Gothic to Gotham – electric and otherwise.
When Peter Murphy entered the stage of LA’s “House Of Blues” in April 2000, he didn’t have a new album to promote but, after a 5-year absence from the spotlight, there was a hunger for facing the audience and a solid back catalogue to feed to them. There was no need, though, to whip up his old band’s songs – hadn’t been for a long time – and if Murphy’s new setist replicated that from 1995, now Peter developed a new sensibility to familiar fare. The artist may begin his performances with a tribal take on PERE UBU’s “Final Solution” to set things in motion, yet it’s the “sonic reduction” of unplugged encores that reveals the singer’s new maturity.
Stripped of glossy groove in favor of lucid strum, “Indigo Eyes” and “A Strange Kind Of Love” seem to accumulate all the momentum Murphy’s been gaining when opening up to an ecstatic crowd on “The Scarlet Thing In You” – given a modern shine – while it’s hard not to get stoked by the power of “Deep Ocean Vast Sea” coming from BAUHAUS’ drummer Kevin Haskins and JANE’S ADDICTION’s bassist Eric Avery. Live, “Subway” is transformed into a tremulous epic thanks to female vocals weaving an Eastern tune into a crystalline piano at the piece’s end, as is “Surrendered” with its arabesques, and the anger of “The Sweetest Drop” is spiked with acidic guitar courtesy of PORNO FOR PYROS’ Pete DiStefano here, before the anthemic “Hit Song” delivers an ultimate blow to close the main part of the show.
Past the finale, relaxed atmosphere reigns, Peter talking to the punters and having a laugh before drowning the venue in sadness to the sounds of “Marlene Dietrich’s Favourite Poem” and then wrapping the acoustic vibe behind “Cuts You Up” in synthetic garb. And if the clanging “Roll Call-Recall” is a sort of an anti-climax, the prayer of “Huuvola” is bringing the concert down to a proper, blues-stricken close. A great aural spectacle from a great artist.