She’s in Parties: the better half of BAUHAUS return to the Flat Field

It could have gone either way. It could have been terrible or really rather quite good.

Seven months after half of Bauhaus – Daniel Ash and Kevin Haskins – went on tour as Poptone, the other half of Bauhaus – Peter Murphy and David J – also went on tour. And, since never the twain shall meet and reunite as a whole, most of us knew where to place our bets. Despite being a sizeable diva (and only a month ago, got into a scrap outside his own concert in Sweden), Peter Murphy is, for all intents and purposes, the gothfather of Bauhaus. And that’s important. His is the voice of “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” and a legacy of dramatic, post-punk anthems for outsider kids who liked vampires, like me. In fact, the most goth thing that could have ever happened at this gig on January 19th at Vancouver’s Vogue Theatre, was if someone in the audience wore white.

Billing the tour as a 40th anniversary reunion for their debut album In the Flat Field, this was always going to trump the Love & Rockets/Tones on Tail trip that Ash/Haskins took seven months earlier. (Though that was enjoyable in a different way). But would this wander down a bigger Bauhaus memory lane be, yunno, actually good?

From opener “Double Dare” through “In the Flat Field” and “A God in an Alcove”, most of us just sort of swooned,  thrilled to be hearing Murphy’s voice live again (for it is a formidable voice). And seeing David J steadfastly rocking along with him, shades on and stonefaced (though charming and lovely backstage when I chatted with him later), was a big, gigantic black-hearted bonus. This half a Bauhaus was far better than no Bauhaus. We all missed hearing those songs live, and on this night, Peter Murphy’s voice was unwaveringly FANTASTIC, and the songs sounded crisp.

There might have been a wee hiccup in the set with David-J-sung “Small Talk Stinks”, which broke the magic for a minute with its bounce, but that moment was brief. For the rest of it,  Murphy swanned about, stared us down, stalked the stage, theatrically conducted his hands, and rode the darker wave. “St Vitus Dance” had the whole room throbbing, while “Stigmata Martyr” came with its own Murphy-draped-on-his-mic-stand-like-Jesus imagery. By the time we got a set made out of “Burning from the Inside”/”Silent Hedges”/”Bela Lugosi’s Dead” (complete with popped black collar to look like a cape, and the white light reflecting on Murphy’s face just like in the 1979 video)/a glorious “She’s In Parties”/”Adrenalin” and “The Passion of Lovers”, we were all under the spell. Sadly, we didn’t get the T. Rex “Telegram Sam” and Bowie “Ziggy Stardust” covers that Seattle would be granted the next night, but we did earn an epic Dead Can Dance “Severance” along with “Kingdom’s Coming”, “King Volcano” and “Kick in the Eye.”

So was it, yunno, good? It was, quite frankly, glorious. \m/

Click on the photos to embiggen and scroll through 👇

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *