Erasing – The Neon Tour
O2 Apollo, Manchester
October 9, 2021
Electronic duo Andy Bell and Vince Clark aka Erasure are on tour in support of their 18th 2020 studio album ‘The Neon’. Stronger Than War, Martin Mathews and Melanie Smith (photographer) were at the first of their two sold-out shows at the Apollo in Manchester. Hard to believe that Erasure has been releasing music since the mid-80s and has over 30 UK Top 40 hits.
It was my first time seeing the duo, so I couldn’t wait to see the show. The decor was simple and cool, with neon lighting reflecting the name of the album and tour, and brightly lit with a central video screen displaying graphics to accompany the songs.
The show opened with a Joe 90 theme and Andy and Vince were joined on stage by two wonderfully dressed and shiny backing vocals, wearing multi-colored faux fur coats. The twenty-three song show kicked off with their 1991 hit, Chorus. Andy was more flamboyant than ever, appearing in a blue gladiator-style corset with checkered pants, dancing around the stage. Between songs, he caught up with the audience, discussing everything from Coronation Street to Christmas, and also took the time to thank a big fan who he said had attended every show so far on the tour.
The show’s setlist featured a mix of songs spanning their impressive long careers, as well as more recent songs, which rubbed shoulders with big hits, such as Sometimes, Chains of Love and Blue Savannah. It was more than just a retrospective tour of the greatest hits, however – the hits still sounded fresh, current, and just as vibrant as they were in the ’80s and’ 90s. The crowded crowd, myself included, loved it. the show, dancing and singing, she roared in approval as those pop classics kept coming.
At one point during the procedure, Andy handed Vince a pair of scissors and asked him to cut it off his corset, which he then removed, replacing it with a yellow gorilla-print t-shirt. A cover of The Eurythmics hit Love Is A Stranger was an unexpected surprise and the only non-Erasure song of the evening. Andy later explained that he was a huge fan of The Eurythmics and that they were one of the first bands he saw live. The hits kept coming and after a spirited and energetic rendition of Victim Of Love, they briefly left the stage before returning for a two song encore, which saw Andy appear wearing a pair of red and silver glittery wedge heels.
By the end of the final song, A Little Respect from 1988, the audience was covered in rainbow-colored confetti fired from cannons from either side of the stage. A fitting end to a fabulous show and an utterly enjoyable getaway through timeless pop classics.
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Hey now (I think I got a feeling)
Fill us with fire
Who needs love like that
Nerves of steel
Turn love into anger
Be careful what I’m trying to do
Save me darling
Pull a satellite
Love to hate you
Love is a stranger
Push me, push me
Victim of love
A bit of respect
The Neon Tour sees Erasure play across the UK throughout October before moving on to North America and Europe in 2022.
The Erasure site is here: ersaureinfo.com. You can follow them on Twitter as @erasureinfo and Like on Facebook.
Words from Martin Mathews, you can read more about his author profile and Twitter
Photos by MÃ©lanie Smith. Other Mel’s work on Louder Than War can be found in its author’s archives. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter. The portfolio of photographs can be found here