Echo and the Bunnymen – Authenticity and Brilliance – Ocean Rain Tour – M&S Bank Arena – Liverpool – 16th September 2023.





Echo and the Bunnymen still remain a steadfast beacon of authenticity and brilliance and tonight they have proven that their music, like the ebb and flow of the ocean remains timeless and eternal.


In the vibrant landscape of 70s post-punk music emerged a band that would etch its name indelibly into the annals of  alternative music history. Blending the gritty energy of punk with enigmatic sounds, haunting lyrics and just being cool as f*** Echo and the Bunnymen carved a path that led them to become one of the most influential bands of the 1980s. The bands journey through the albums “Crocodiles”, “Heaven Up Here” and “Porcupine” had already been a captivating odyssey, but central to their legacy stands the enchanting journey through the dark yet beautiful soundscapes and orchestral arrangements of the iconic album “Ocean Rain”. A masterpiece that showcases musical prowess, visionary artistry and is a testament to the band’s ability to balance introspection with grandeur.  In an age of ever-changing musical landscapes and ephemeral trends, tonight is going to be a rare and precious experience as the iconic band and The Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra bring their Ocean Rain Tour to their hometown and to the fitting backdrop of the M&S Arena on Liverpool’s historic waterfront.


Best known as the violinist in The Wonder Stuff, one-half of an acoustic duo with Miles Hunt and the live fiddle player for The Proclaimers, Erica Nockalls, partnered by Jean-Charles Versari show why you should get to gigs early. The duo skilfully navigates through various genres, blending elements of folk, rock, alternative, pop and classical music into a seamless and captivating fusion. Haunting melodies, virtuosic violin performances and emotive vocals reminiscent of many of my favourite 4AD artists inspire and captivate me. It’s a set which I will undoubtedly remember long after the echoes of the last notes fade away.



1/ Build Me a Ship

2/ Mouth Full of Something

3/ This Silent Dog

4/ Eiffel’s Eye

5/ House of Erica

6/ Making Friends with an Alien



As the opening chords of “Going Up” reverberate through the room a familiar silhouette radiating a timeless coolness appears in the smoke and blue lights delivering the lyrics alongside Will’s ethereal guitar work. “Rescue” with its haunting melodies and emotional intensity is poignant. Ian’s vocals soaring, evoking the yearning and vulnerability that the song has become known for. “All My Colours (Zimbo)” is stunning and “Nothing Lasts Forever” is sublime. Ian asking the crowd “to take a walk on Merseyside” as he combines The Bunnymen classic with Lou Reed‘s “Walk on the Wild Side”. The seamless transition between the two showcasing the band’s gift to make familiar tunes uniquely their own. “Bring On the Dancing Horses” is met with thunderous applause as it begins, the audience swaying and singing along, their voices merging with Ian’s in a moment of pure connection. His voice, though weathered by the years, still retaining its power and emotional depth as he commands the stage with the same enigmatic charisma that has defined him for decades. Will’s guitar work serves as the band’s ethereal backbone and is as impressive as ever. His haunting riffs and shimmering chords transporting the crowd to the atmospheric realms that the Bunnymen are renowned for. This isn’t such a bad way to spend a Saturday evening.


From the haunting opening of “Silver” through to the epic finale of “Ocean Rain” the sonic landscape the Liverpool Philharmonic and the band produce is effortlessly haunting and unearthly. “Seven Seas” and “My Kingdom” take on a new dimension when performed live and “Crystal Days” and “Thorn of Crowns” evoke waves of nostalgia in me. Ian’s vulnerable delivery and the lush orchestration of “Ocean Rain” create a sweeping sense of melancholy, allowing the crowd to fully immerse themselves in the emotional depth of the music. It is a swirling orchestral opus that begins with Will’s evocative guitar arpeggios, slowly building to a crescendo as strings and Ian’s emotive vocals sweep in. The track’s poetic lyrics, painting vivid maritime imagery, complement the lush instrumentation creating a sense of both sadness and hope. It’s spine-tingling. “The Killing Moon” is evocative and introspective. Will’s guitar work weaving throughout the track adding layers of atmosphere and emotion to the orchestra behind him. The songs soaring solo and the seamless interplay between the guitar and Ian’s vocals is truly mesmerizing and it’s a transcendent experience that leaves an indelible mark on the listener’s soul tonight. 



After a brief exit, the band return for crowd favourite “Lips Like Sugar” and “The Cutter” the driving bassline and hypnotic guitar riff of the latter echoing through the venue, its masterful blend of  shimmering guitars, melodic bassline, dynamic drumming and commanding vocals creating a sonic landscape that is simultaneously fragile yet powerful.  It’s classic Bunnymen.


Music has an incredible power to touch our souls, ignite our emotions, and create timeless experiences and tonight it has done just that. Tonight is a testament to the bands timeless appeal and enduring musical prowess and hasn’t just been a nostalgic trip down memory lane. It’s been a reaffirmation of the bands enduring legacy in the world of music. In a grey and fake musical landscape Echo and the Bunnymen’s still remain a steadfast beacon of authenticity and brilliance and tonight they have proven that their music, like the ebb and flow of the ocean, remains timeless and eternal.



1/ Going Up

2/ All That Jazz

3/ Rescue

4/ Bedbugs and Ballyhoo

5/ All My Colours (Zimbo)

6/ Nothing Lasts Forever / Walk on the Wild Side

7/ Never Stop

8/ Bring On the Dancing Horse

Ocean Rain W/ Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

9/ Silver

10/ Nocturnal Me

11/ Crystal Days

12/ The Yo Yo Man

13/ Thorn of Crowns

14/ The Killing Moon

15/ Seven Seas

16/ My Kingdom

17/ Ocean Rain

Encore 1

19/ Lips Like Sugar

Encore 2

21/ The Cutter