Saturday night's Psychedelic Furs and Lemonheads show at Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale could have done without one thing -- chairs. I'm sure that opinion wasn't shared by everyone, as plenty of butts seemed to keep those bad boys warm all night long, and when my party stood at times when hit songs weren't being played, we got yelled at by other attendees to take our seats.
That said, after more than three decades of filling the world with their blend of new wave-y post punk melodic tunes, simultaneously catchy, clever, and sometimes cutting, the Psychedelic Furs still deliver.
The band started out the 18-song set with "Into You Like a Train," from their early '80s release Talk Talk Talk, singer Richard Butler's deep and throaty voice as intact as ever. Butler was looking good in a black-and-white suit sans jacket, sporting some springy kicks that kept him pretty bouncy throughout the night. His brother, band co-founder and bassist Tim Butler got up and personal with the crowd, leaning in to the front row of fans to mouth lyrics as he played. Mars Williams on that saxophone was also a real treat, knowing how to go from minimal to showy without being invasive.
The venue's stage was a nice subtle enhancement to the show. There was a nice, night-sky lights thing happening, with tiny white lights that looked like little stars that glittered beneath the broad and moving colored lights. It was a nice backdrop as the band blasted through a tour of their lengthy history. After the opener, the band went into "President Gas." Butler got a little more dance-y during that song, his energy ramping up more as the night continued. They followed that with "Imitation of Christ" and "The Ghost in You." The whole band seemed to be having a really good time beginning to end. Richard Butler had a perma-smile that barely left his face and radiated a real contentment and sincerity that enveloped the room in a cozy warmth.
It was a show without a lot of fanfare or particularly notable moments -- just consistently great, solid playing and a rich energy loaded with the band's inherent romance mixed with fan excitement and obvious nostalgia. In between favorites like "Love My Way," "Heaven," and "Heartbreak Beat," the band did play the newish "Little Miss World," which embraces their signature sound and creates wishes for more new tracks. After closing up shop temporarily, the band came back for the much-awaited "Pretty In Pink" and followed that up with "India" to shut the night down.
Though opening band the Lemonheads seemed a little less energetic than the Furs, it was good to see them. It was also hard to blame Evan Dando for being perhaps a little lackluster as, at that point, the crowd was seated, really subdued and didn't really seem interested in moving to their generally bouncy pop numbers. Regardless, the band reminded us of Dando's brilliance in crafting smart and catchy songs that stick around in your head. They opened with "Style," and played others like "Hospital" and the ubiquitous "It's a Shame About Ray." Half the band left the stage for a bit, leaving Dando and guitarist Chris Brokaw on stage for a couple of songs, including a short version of "Into Your Arms."
Into You Like a Train President Gas Imitation of Christ The Ghost in You Little Miss World Until She Comes No Easy Street Only You and I Love My Way She Is Mine Mr. Jones Run and Run Pulse Fall Heaven Heartbreak Beat
Pretty in Pink India
Last Night: Psychedelic Furs and Lemonheads at Talking Stick Casino.
Personal Bias: Plenty of angst-y teen years spent with the Furs as the soundtrack.
The Crowd/Overheard in the Crowd: Mothers with wine glasses screaming "No, THIS one is my favorite," as the band's biggest hits were played.
Best addition: Rich Good on guitar. Dude was born for that gig.
Random Notebook Dump: Evan Dando from the Lemonheads looks cute as a skinny Bigfoot.
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