I’ve seen some fun and amazing concerts this year (Cher, Shania Twain, and Olivia Newton-John), but I’m really psyched to see my favorite band of all-time this fall for the first time — a week before my monumental 50th birthday!
It’s not ABBA, Culture Club, The Human League, Duran Duran, The Carpenters, New Kids on the Block, Pet Shop Boys, Dead or Alive, or Depeche Mode, although I do want to see Pet Shop Boys and Culture Club in 2015 and I’d love to see The Human League again.
Andy Bell and Vince Clarke, better known as Erasure, will be hitting the road this fall to support their 16th studio album, “The Violet Flame”, that comes out this September. The first single arrives in July.
I have pretty decent seats to see them in Chicago in early October. Unfortunately, since I was buying my tickets from an airport rushing between flights, I didn’t score “pit” tickets and I wasn’t fast enough to get VIP tickets! Nevertheless, I can’t wait to see the show.
Until now, it’s never worked out for me to see them live in concert.
However, I did have the pleasure to say “hello” to Andy and Vince from across the “Fox News Chicago” newsroom where I was working as a news writer back in 2002. They dropped in to make an appearance on our morning show when Erasure was playing in Chicago.
Andy and Vince were kind of enough to sign my VHS copy of “Wild! Live”, their 1989 concert at the London Arena.
If you’ve only listened to mainstream Top 40 radio since the 1980s, you’re probably not too familiar with Erasure. Sadly, radio missed the boat on the group.
They’ve hit the Top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 three times. “Chains of Love” peaked at #12 in 1988.
That was followed by “A Little Respect”, which made it to #14 that same year, and “Always” reached the Top 20 in 1994.
However, my love for Erasure goes back a few years before they had their first hit on American radio. In 1985, they released their first record, “Who Needs Love Like That”/”Heavenly Action”, which was a Top Ten U.S. dance club hit.
I had just turned 21 and I no longer had to sneak into the my local gay bar, Rumors, in Paducah, Kentucky. When I started spinning record there in 1986, I couldn’t get enough of “Oh L’amour”, the third single from their debut album, “Wonderland”.
That song reached #3 on the U.S. Dance charts and #2 on the charts in South Africa and #3 in Singapore.
“Oh L’amour” is still my favorite Erasure song to this day.
Luckily, for Americans Erasure fans, the duo made it big in the clubs scoring 22 Top 40 dance hits with 16 hitting the Top Ten, and two topping the charts: “Victim of Love” (1987) and “Breathe” (2005).
In their native U.K., they’ve had 32 Top 40 hits with 15 reaching the Top Ten. Interestingly enough, their biggest hit in England was “Sometimes” in 1987. It’s another one of my all-time favorites, but it missed the top. It stalled out at #2.
While I’ve always been “out”, being born and raised in small town Kentucky, I admired Andy Bell from the beginning for being himself — out, proud and fabulous. He didn’t change himself or conform his look or stage presence to be “safe” for American audiences.
Now, I did wear some interesting clothes in my 20s that provoked second looks and “under the breath” comments, but compared to Andy’s style, it was very subtle!
If you have any doubt about Andy’s eye-catching style, check out this performance, “Star”, from “Wild! Live”!
And, if I didn’t totally love Andy and Vince before 1992, I was in gay heaven that year when they released “Abba-esque”, a four-song EP of ABBA tunes. It hit the top of the charts in Austria, Finland, Ireland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
Before Erasure broke onto the music scene, ABBA was my favorite band. I loved the Swedish band so much that, in 2000, I named my golden retriever after them! 🙂 Shortly after she went to “puppy heaven” in early 2012, I got a tattoo of Miss ABBA!
“The Violet Flame Tour”, which kicks off in September in Miami, Florida, then heads across the U.S. (and Toronto, Ontario) through early November before heading to Europe and then back to New York City for two shows to ring in the New Year!
This is Erasure’s first tour since 2011’s international “The Tomorrow’s World Tour”.
While Andy may not wear as many sequins and the costumes may not be as revealing as back in 1989, from this video from Offenbach, Germany, in November 2011, Andy and Vince’s performances are still energizing and incredible.
I’m already looking forward to July to hear the first single from “The Violet Flame” and for the album’s release in September.
But, most of all, I’m counting down the days until October 4th, when I get to see Erasure at the Chicago Theatre for the first time.
Andy and Vince, I’ll be screaming and singing along from the Main Floor B section. I’ll pretend that you’re singing to me when I hear the first notes of “Oh L’amour”!
♫♪ Oh l’amour/Broke my heart and now I’m aching for you/Mon amour/What’s a boy in love supposed to do?