Erasure Launches "Cowboy" Tour

We would now like to thank heaven for Erasure for mounting the most interesting tour of the week, and maybe the year. Last weekend, the veteran English synth-pop band -- burbling sequencers, gay frontman and all -- launched a Stetson-and-spur-filled "Cowboy" tour after the group's new album of that name at the Bronco Bowl in Dallas. Now this... is entertainment.

ERASURE: Hello Dallas!

MTV: Who else but Erasure would have the guts to dress up their new U.S. tour as a full-scale western musical? Armed with more than a decade of hits and a two-story brothel and saloon, an onstage campfire, a covered wagon, mirrored Stetsons, spurs as heels, and yes, even a walking cactus, Erasure's hit the road to help launch their brand new album, "Cowboy."

VINCE CLARKE: There's lots and lots of jokes that you can pull with that theme.

ANDY BELL: We thought to break from all the spectacle and to give a bit of intimacy with the audience, we'd just all gather around this

little fire and take our in-ear monitors out and play the guitar and show that we really can sing!

FAN 1: He has the most beautiful voice you've ever heard live. ["Oh L'Amour" from L.A. concert, 704k QuickTime]

FAN 2: Andy Bell is fantastic, he has great chemistry with his audience. ["Don't Say Your Love Is Killing Me" from L.A. concert, 832k QuickTime]

FAN 3: He kept humping the microphone! He was goin' Woooo! Ride me, baby!

MTV: As attitudes continue to change over Erasure's 10 year plus career, openly gay frontman, Andy Bell, has noticed quite a difference in the audiences at their shows.

BELL: Say 10 years ago, 8 years ago, you could kind of feel the cringe factor if I did a campy move onstage or something. You might just hear things afterwards like, "Oh, Andy Bell's a real queer!" You could kind of feel the hairs standing

up on people's arms. But now it's much more -- you don't feel that at all. It's like, very calm and you have same-sex couples dancing and things and like, kissing and people just, they're all in together!

FAN 4: Oh, it was excellent! But it wasn't long enough, it needs to be longer!!!

FAN 5: He sang everything he needed to sing, though!

FAN 6: He could play for 10 hours and we'd still say it wasn't enough!

Erasure's "Cowboy" album is a return to pop single form, and if you want to check it out live, the group plays Washington, D.C., on Monday, and Philadelphia on Wednesday.