Echo and the Bunnymen — the ’80s band that was covered by ’90s stalwarts like Pavement to the Flaming Lips — unleashed some covers of its own last night during the second of two sold-out shows at Irving Plaza.
Three songs into a set that leaned heavily on their classics, the Liverpool outfit injected a little bit of James Brown’s “Sex Machine” into “Do It Clean,” an anthem their biggest fan Courtney Love brought to the grunge generation when Hole covered it on the b-side of “Doll Parts.”
Then they bopped through “People Are Strange,” dedicating it to Ray Manzerek (the Doors keyboardist produced Echo’s cover of the song when it was recorded for the soundtrack of The Lost Boys and released as a b-side to the band’s biggest hit, “Lips Like Sugar”).
That wasn’t the only time lead singer Ian McCulloch channeled Jim Morrison. Later he launched into a cover of “Roadhouse Blues” that segued into a rendition of Bowie’s “The Jean Genie.” And toward the end, after McCulloch muttered something incomprehensible about Lou Reed (did we mention he’s from Liverpool?) “Nothing Lasts Forever” morphed into “Walk on the Wild Side.”
All the covers were a bit much, but you could argue the band was also covering its own songs, since McColloch and guitarist Will Sergeant were the only original members on stage. Which didn’t make “The Killing Moon” any less exquisite.
Here’s “Roadhouse Blues” going into “Jean Genie”: