When they take to the stage, cruising on the crowd's good humour after the Newcastle FA Cup semi-final win earlier, such worries at first seem ill-founded. McCulloch swaggers into view from a swirl of dry ice, with ash hanging delicately from a cigarette, swathed in shiny black leather, more the perfect rock star than he's ever been before. Will Sergeant strums on his left, hidden by his fringe, and who cares? Snake-dancing and sneaking drinks from the crowd, McCulloch's recent claim that he is the Bunnymen seems less a boast than a lucky fact.
He homes in on established hits. The crowd, almost all old enough to remember the Bunnymen's heyday, danced the way they are supposed to, and watch the band do their memories justice. By "Bring On the Dancing Horses", the crowd are hurling the lyrics back, rolling back the years. The potency of the old songs seems freeze-dried. But of course, for any man who believes in his future, that can never be enough.
The crunch for McCulloch comes when "The Back of Love" is followed by that crucial new song, "What Are You Going To Do With Your Life?". He sings the old song with a voice deliberately raked ragged, bringing one of his firmest hits into his new, soft-focused world. For "What Are You Going To Do...", as when he first sang it so angrily, the audience's age should make it resonate. But somehow, the transition to this brave new Bunnymen's world falls short.Reuse content