Show Review: Erasure at Fox Theater Oakland

by Kara Murphy on November 4, 2014

Andy Bell was in top form this past Saturday night.

Andy Bell was in top form this past Saturday night.

Reading up on Erasure, before they performed to a sold out crowd at Oakland’s Fox Theater this past Saturday night, I discovered that they didn’t really break through into the mainstream’s consciousness until their third album was released in 1988. Could you imagine such a scenario in today’s modern-day music industry? Luckily, Mute and Sire records were good to them and foresaw the longevity in classic hits such as “Oh L’amour” and “Who Needs Love Like That.”

Andy Bell and Vince Clarke, the latter formerly of Depeche Mode, have been performing together since the 1980s. They’ve conquered adversity, the pitfalls of fame, and HIV (Bell was diagnosed in 1998). They also may not have had a proper hit in a decade, but that doesn’t diminish their invaluable contributions to the LGBT community or the staying power of the music they’ve created.

People crowded into Oakland’s Fox Theater not so much to witness new songs from Erasure’s sixteenth and latest release, The Violet Flame, but to capture a moment of the magic churned out through their accessible, danceable synth-pop music. They kicked the night off with “Oh L’amour,” introduced a few tracks from their latest release (Bell proclaimed that this was they second time they were going to try out “Dead of Night”), and had the crowd bellowing along in harmony to a slew of hits from their peak years including “Breathe,” “A Little Respect,” and “Chains of Love.”

As for Bell, he was in “a bossy mood” and owned it the entire night. From switching out of a Joy Division shirt to one featuring Debbie Harry, all while shaking it in a pair of sequined booty shorts, he proved that age won’t slow him down any time soon. When the lights came on after the encore, the elation was contagious and attendees were breathless in their admiration. To paraphrase: you wish you were there and if they ever come back to the Bay Area in the near future, you should be.

Here is their setlist:

1. Oh L’Amour
2. Star
3. Reason
4. Breath of Life
5. You Surround Me
6. Elevation
7. I Lose Myself
8. Drama!
9. Victim of Love
10. Ship of Fools
11. Sacred
12. Breathe
13. Dead of Night
14. Blue Savannah
15. Chorus
16. Love to Hate You
17. A Little Respect
18. Chains of Love

Encore:

19. Always
20. Sometimes

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