Monday, December 12, 2005

I Did Get Bored: Bauhaus at the Grove

Thanks to a good friend, my wife and I got a chance to witness the reunited Bauhaus at the Grove in Anaheim on Friday, Dec. 9. This is the second time we had seen the band live, once before at their reunion show at the Hollywood Palladium in 1989.

After never expecting the see these high school heroes, the ’89 show was a revelation, not everthing I had come to expect after many repeated viewings of Archive and Shadows of Light, but pretty close. In fact, I remember many of the theatrical affectations of that performance reference their music videos, such as the dangling light bulbs from "She’s In Parties."

However, 2005 was a different beast. Despite stellar reviews of the Coachella show and the Wiltern shows, the performance witnessed at the Grove left a bit to be desired. And here is the problem: Peter Murphy seemed completely disinterested through the first half of the show. Vocally, he was stunning. In fact, if you could hear a recording of the show, you would be amazed.

But, what you wouldn’t know from the audio portion of the performance was that Murphy spent most of the first half of the set lackadaisically moving about the stage picking lint off of his coat, touching up his comb-over (yes, comb-over) and doing everything short of rolling his eyes to give the distinct impression that he was bored out of his mind.

It must be said at this point that despite Murphy’s short-comings, the rest of the band, Daniel Ash, David J. and Kevin Haskins; were astonishing in their performance. (Maybe this is what a Fleetwood Mac show feels like.) I actually was pining for a Love & Rockets reunion.

The show got off to a promising start with "Burning from the Inside," then went into "In the Flat Field," giving new meaning to the lyric "I do get bored." The band meandered through "Swing the Heartache" and a horrible "Terror Couple Kill Colonel," that suffered miserably from Murphy’s lack of interest.

But just when all seemed bleak (and not in the good goth way), everything turned around with "Hollow Hills." It isn’t that suddenly Murphy exploded the frenetic, convulsive, shoulder-shimmying front man of yore, but the energy increased and the singer and band began performing as if they were on the same stage.

During the second half of the set the band careened through such classsics as "Stigmata Martyr," "In Fear of Fear" "The Passion of Lovers," and "Rose Garden Funeral of Sores." They completed their set with an encore consisting of "Bela Lugosi’s Dead," "Telegram Sam," and "Ziggy Stardust."

Overall, if I had left the show halfway through I would have been sorely disappointed. However, the band redeemed themselves and I left giddily chatting with my wife about how great these songs still sounded after all these years.

And just for good measure, I ordered the DVD reissue of Archive/Shadows of Light so I could walk down memory lane any time I want.

Of course, I am still thinking a Love & Rockets reunion might not be a bad idea.

& lest I forget, here are the last ten songs played on my iPod:

1. "If 6 Was 9" by the Jimi Hendrix Experience
2. "Darling Nikki" by Prince
3. "Tiny Girls" by Iggy Pop
4. "Box of Stars (Part Two)" by Sparklehorse
5. "Fade Into You" by Mazzy Star
6. "The Best of Jill Hives" by Guided By Voices
7. "Do You Know How It Feels" by the Flying Burrito Brothers
8. "Daytime Dilemma" by the Ramones
9. "Sugar Daddy" from the Hedwig & the Angry Inch soundtrack
10. "Cry Baby Cry" by the Beatles


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