Peter Murphy, the former frontman of legendary goth rock pioneers Bauhaus, performed to a sold out crowd at the Urban Lounge last night to celebrate 35 years of the band that made him an icon. I did not have high expectations for this show.
Bauhaus is one of those bands whose mythology is just impervious to any kind of naysaying, if you ask me. They are “that” important. The original incarnation of the band was active from 1978 to 1983 and in that time they not only released a number of highly influential albums, they also invented gothic rock, thereby spawning an entire sub-culture.
How do you take that on the road for a nostalgia tour?
I thought Peter Murphy would come on stage with a handful of dudes and those dudes would do their best to plod along through a greatest hits set list and it would all seem like a sad bit of karaoke. But hey, whatever. I really like the songs and it would be fun to sing along, so what the hell? I decided to go.
I was dead wrong.
Murphy’s vocals were flawless and the band didn’t miss a single cue. Not one. I’ve been listening to Bauhaus records for about 25 years and as the band made their way through the setlist last night there was never a time when I thought, “That could have been better” or “That was different on the album.”
Bauhaus was a band that could create these really moody intricate soundscapes and then turn around and punch you in the throat with a buzz saw guitar riff and violent drum line. The band that backed Peter Murphy last night delivered on both counts.
The 19 song set opened with “King Volcano,” a quirky song from the band’s 1983 album “Burning From The Inside.” While there were a few songs not technically part of the Bauhaus canon, like Murphy’s solo hit “Strange Kind Of Love,” it was the stuff from the glory days, so to speak, that really stuck out.
Songs like “Double Dare,” “In The Flat Field,” “She’s In Parties,” “Kick In The Eye,” “Hollow Hills,” “Silent Hedges” and “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” were all delivered with an astonishing attention to detail.
The only real quibble I had with the show was the setlist. Why play “God In An Alcove” when “All We Ever Wanted Was Everything” would have been really great? And while it was cool to hear “Burning From The Inside,” I would rather have heard “Spirit.”
But, you know, if that’s the only thing I can take exception with, then what I witnessed last night was truly special.