“You’re making me feel all sexy and seductive…or if I may, moist.” –Andy Bell
This may very well be the best summary of Erasure’s show Tuesday night at the Fox Theatre Oakland. There was glitter (in the form of sequined red blazers), intricate set design (large plastic fortresses and gargoyles), and bears. Lots, and lots, and lots of bears. We were in heaven.
From the fancy light show accompaniment to the headdress accessories, it was hard not to smile at any point of Erasure’s show. There’s a high bar of theatricality the duo set for themselves, always wanting to top the last maneuver to please the audience. Bell stayed stationary for the first part of the show before upping the ante, pulling Chippendale-style dancing every so often before having fellow bandmate Vince Clark come out from his gargoyle chariot halfway through the concert to cut off his corset vest from back (leaving a shirtless Bell momentarily exposed to a happy crowd). In between songs, Bell teased the audience about their extracurriculars such as Folsom Street Fair, apologizing that the band couldn’t be in attendance for this year’s festival. “I’m sorry we couldn’t be here then, but we fit everything from that weekend into last night.”
So, okay: if you close your eyes and really listen, it’s hard not to think that you’re either in a gay club in the Castro, or listening to the ending credits of The Neverending Story. And sure, maybe having LED lights and doing interpretive dance to “Chorus” (including simulating birds flying) may be a little over the top while on stage. But this is Erasure we’re talking about. Nothing is too flamboyant or shiny enough to not please their fans. Yet, it’s also refreshing to note that after all this time, and hit after hit, Erasure still produces catchy as hell music. “Breathe of Life” still sounded pitch-perfect. Bell can still hit the notes during “Respect” and “Chains of Love;” “Love To Hate You” was a particularly welcome performance that combined both superior dancing and belting vocals.
At the core, everyone was in the house to dance, to reminisce about the first Erasure single they loved or the new single they are falling in love with. New full length Tomorrow’s World is released next week, and “A Whole Lotta Love Riot” off of it was the best-received. The track is definitely where Bell and Clarke are most in their element vocally and production-wise (respectively); it still echoes the vibe of a Saturday night disco while also really presenting a pop-conscious foot forward. Alas, it doesn’t hurt that there is also a healthy level of air grinding and hips gyrating to accompany that live, and for that I thank them.