It could go one of two ways. Traditionally enigmatic live, recently the Bunnymen have been either – no in-betweens – half-arsed lazy or faith-reaffirmingly brilliant. So Mac, what are you going to do with your crowd?
Fortunately – shadow boxing and crooning – he plumps for the latter. Setting aside the fact that songs like ‘The Killing Moon’ and ‘The Cutter’ are stone-dead classics, tonight the Bunnymen play them with a venom and verve that’s box-fresh. Will Sergeant sends out the sharpest of guitar lines, playing like he’s cutting abattoir carcasses, while Mac sings the lyrics like they still mean as much to him as they do to the gathered faithful. Having parted company with London Records earlier in the year, it’s a fine reminder of their talents.
The avalanche of hits is also slightly annoying. Because – while even patent duffers like ‘Lips Like Sugar’ are lifted high – it leaves little room for songs off the excellent ‘What Are You Going To Do With Your Life?’. There’s no title track or ‘Rust’, but ‘Fools Like Us’ and ‘Morning Sun’ – vulnerable and creaking with emotion – show us what we’re missing.
When alternative music is as faceless as it currently is, we need icons, gobshites and dreamers like Ian McCulloch. Next time it might be rubbish, but for tonight, it’s heaven up here.