Review: Erasure live at Sherwood Pines
Sherwood Pines Friday 17th June 2011
Sherwood Pines has hosted some big names in music in recent years, but I doubt many of them offered as fine-tuned pop as Erasure. With a stage nestled in the heart of Sherwood Forest, you could feel the excitement of the crowd was condensed into an intimate arena, and it only heightened as the evening went on.
Erasure’s appearance was part of their ‘Total Pop!’ summer shows, a series of gigs in woodlands and forests as part of the Forestry Commission’s annual concert series. The tour coincides with the duo’s 14th studio album due to be released this summer.
Sophie Ellis-Bexter opened the night but it was obvious who the crowd were waiting for. With a music career spanning nearly three decades, Andy Bell and Vince Clarke were quick to demonstrate why they’ve had such continued success.
Opening with ‘Hideaway’, a song reflecting Bell’s personal experience of coming out, they continued with tracks like ‘Breath of Life’ and ‘Push me Shove me’ before inviting the crowd back to 1986 for the biggest cheer of the night with ‘Victims of Love’.
The pair boast an extensive back catalogue which has reached all ages. After a four year break, it’s clear their return was eagerly anticipated when the gig was a fast sell out. Although Bell has been quoted in previous interviews as his only concern about playing in the woods was the rain, the damp weather was never mentioned as he belted out classics like ‘Always’, ‘Blue Savannah’ and ‘Chains of Love’.
On looking around, it was clear that Erasure have some very dedicated fans, able to mouth every lyric that came out of Bell’s mouth. Supported by two female vocalists, he was very appreciative of the excitable audience. He admitted he relies on Red Bull for his gig energy, but that he had experimented that night with beetroot juice. You couldn’t tell. He was just as full of life as you need for a frontman (and I wonder if the sales of beetroot juice spiked this week…?). Alternatively Vince Clarke didn’t speak a word as he mused over his synthesizer, but that was enough to show his talent.
The simple stage set up let the music speak for itself. Some fans made Bell’s black sequin suit jacket look quite reserved, with The Village People and local hero Robin Hood making an appearance.
The duo offered the right balance of old and new, introducing only one new track ‘Save me’ which went down well in between ‘Drama!’ and ‘Love to Hate you’. The gig delivered everything I’d hoped for and we were treated to an encore of ‘Stop’ leaving everyone buzzing, and not a sole left sitting on their camping chair.
The Forestry Commission will be hosting big names throughout 2011. For more information visit: http://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/INFD-78QLV2