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.