Echo and the Bunnymen Let “Ocean Rain” Fall On Radio City Music Hall - Rolling Stone
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Echo and the Bunnymen Let “Ocean Rain” Fall On Radio City Music Hall

Echo & the Bunnymen’s 1984 album Ocean Rain was a bold, ambitious record that marked the pinnacle in the moody Liverpudlians’ career, and still stands up as one of the finer moments of the post-punk/new wave era. The band celebrated their 30th anniversary by presenting Ocean Rain live in its entirety with the help of an orchestra on a handful of U.K. dates. For the lone U.S. performance, New York’s swanky Radio City Music Hall provided an appropriately dramatic, grandiose setting.

The evening opened with a run through the band’s non-Ocean Rain hits, including a raw spin through “The Cutter” and the radio hit “Lips Like Sugar,” which provided a frothy counterpoint to the heavier second set. Post-intermission, the Bunnymen launched into their masterpiece backed by a ten-piece string section and an extra percussionist, upping the already-potent drama quotient. Frontman Ian McCulloch was in fine voice, growling and sneering wondrously through Britpop staples “Silver” and “The Killing Moon.” The band didn’t extend the songs or add in elaborate orchestrated breakdowns — they merely used the extra instruments to transform the nine Ocean Rain tracks from excellent pop songs into epic landmarks. McCulloch, ever aloof, seemed nonplussed by the scope of the evening. “Is Billy Crystal here tonight?” he asked at one point, appropos of nothing. “I love Billy Crystal.”

Set list:
“Lips Like Sugar”
“Bring on the Dancing Horses”
“Think I Need It Too”
“The Disease”
“All That Jazz”
“The Back of Love”
“All My Colours”
“People Are Strange”
Medley: “Nothing Lasts Forever” / “Walk on the Wild Side” / “Don’t Let Me Down” / “In the Midnight Hour”
“The Cutter”


Ocean Rain:
“Nocturnal Me”
“Crystal Days”
“Yo Yo Man”
“Thorn of Crowns”
“The Killing Moon”
“Seven Seas”
“My Kingdom”
“Ocean Rain”

Related Stories:
Album Review: Echo and the Bunnymen, Ocean Rain
Ian McCulloch Gets Vicious Late in Career
Echo and the Bunnymen Visit Siberia


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