By Max Stewart
Liverpool’s Echo & the Bunnymen are trailblazers in the British post-punk scene since forming in 1978, with bands such as Arcade Fire, Radiohead, Pavement, Foo Fighters, Coldplay, and The Killers all citing the band’s shadowy psychedelic interpretation of the genre as a major influence. To celebrate their long-tenure, founding members Ian McCulloch (Vocalist) and Will Sergeant (Guitarist) have lead the charge for a leg of shows across the U.S. and Canada in ‘Celebrating 40 Years of Magical Songs.’ The opening night of the tour at Atlanta’s Tabernacle was ripe with anticipation, as droves of Gen Xers and many younger generations of fans were eager to see one of the pioneers of new wave kick off their twenty-something date tour across North America.
The show started with a heavy dose of their seminal 1980 opener, Crocodiles, including “Going Up,” “All That Jazz,” and a rousing version of “Rescue.” The crowd lit up for “Bring On the Dancing Horses,” and the band seemed to be finding their groove with the audience fully locked in. At some point in the night, however, it was clear McCulloch was not feeling 100% and shortly after “Nothing Lasts Forever” (with a snippet of Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side”), McCulloch exited stage left and the band took an intermission. The audience (and seemingly band members as well) were all perplexed but hoping that McCulloch was feeling well, as he was wearing a trenchcoat on a very hot evening in Georgia.
Like a true scouser, McCulloch muscled his way through the end of the set as the band reemerged to a round of applause. He actually vomited immediately following “Lips Like Sugar” at the side stage, then reemerged for the encore with “The Killing Moon.” Wow. We definitely have never seen anything like that before. Pure dedication to finishing the show. The set ended up being much shorter than a typical Echo & the Bunnymen concert, which was disappointing for some audience members who traveled near and far, but for McCulloch to power through feeling under the weather was impressive. We all just hope he is alright and we wish him and the rest of the band well the rest of the tour.
The band tweeted after the show: “Thanks for a brilliant gig tonight Atlanta ✊🏻 Mac sends his love & thanks for being with him tonight when was sick, he carried on when he should’ve stopped but sang on, he’s feeling a lot better now, onwards.”