London, Albert Hall, 24 Apr 1986

26 Apr 1986
The Guardian
Robin Denselow
Robin Denselow
Echo and the Bunnymen

BEFORE Live Aid, the events this week at the Albert Hall would have been considered exceptional. After all there were plans for five consecutive charity concerts which would raise between a quarter to half a million pounds for Greenpeace. The shows haven't been quite what they should have been.

There were no exceptional headliners for the first two nights and Wednesday's show was cancelled because Big Country pulled out. It was just as well then, that Echo and the Bunnymen returned from an American tour, to enliven Thursday's show. It had included a dull, if occasionally tuneful, set by a now guitar-dominated China Crisis, a film on Greenpeace with a live voice-over from Pamela Stephenson and an aggressive, mostly solo, set by John Martyn.

Then came the Bunnymen, complete with new drummer Blair Cunningham (once with the more gentle Haircut 100) playing with a new pared-down intensity, even on old favourites like Rescue. The lighting was immaculate and Ian McCullogh's relaxed, brooding vocals were balanced by Will Sergeant's driving guitar work, with frantic chattering effects on new songs like Satellite, or thunderous clanging effects on the new ballad Lips Like Sugar.

Then there were the semi-acoustic hits like Killing Moon, again given a crisp once-over.

This Thursday evening in the Royal Albert Hall was part of a Greenpeace benefit that lasted several days, Sound Waves For Greenpeace.
This review was printed in The Guardian of Saturday 26 April 1986. Photographer Giacomino Parkinson made a phenomenal action shot of John's this night.