After both a tumultuous health scare and a victory lap with the recently reunited Bauhaus, Peter Murphy returned to New York’s Le Poisson Rouge to complete his series of rescheduled residency dates. We had the chance to catch Tuesday’s set, focused exclusively on select Bauhaus cuts.
Opening the show was the New Orleans-based, self-proclaimed Queer Witch Vinsantos, who performed a series of piano-driven torch ballads, interlaced with anecdotes that had the crowd in stitches. In addition to his own captivating material, including “16 Seconds,” “”Anger Makes Me Mad,” and a handful of new solo tracks, Vinsantos closed with a powerful rendition of Bauhaus b-side “Crowds,” complete with a story about first meeting Murphy and being invited to be the opening act for last year’s Ruby Celebration tour.
After a short changeover, Murphy and his band, comprised of mainstays Mark Gemini Thwaite (guitar), Emilio Zef China (bass, violin), and Marc Slutsky (drums), took to the stage, launching into a subdued version of “Kingdom’s Coming,” a deep but beautiful ballad from 1983’s Burning from the Inside. Immediately following the acoustic number was the opening trifecta from In the Flat Field, including the gut-wrenching “Double Dare,” the lithe title track, and the glam-infused “A God in an Alcove.” While the band did a spectacular job capturing the grit and grime of the material, it became quickly clear that Murphy appeared to be struggling with the microphone, barely audible over the band’s chaotic din. Sadly, this plagued the singer for the remainder of the evening, with the majority of the audience calling for more gain between tracks.
While it was extremely difficult to hear Murphy’s banter between songs, reports confirmed that the singer was suffering from a cold for earlier part of the week, which certainly had an adverse effect on his energy and stamina throughout the remainder of the evening. As the night wore on, Murphy gave his best, occasionally hitting his stride during rare “Bela” flip “Boys,” the caustic “Stigmata Martyr,” and Dead Can Dance cover “Severance,” which was originally recorded during Bauhaus’ original 1998 reunion run and released on subsequent live album Gotham. While these moments touched gently on the greatness of Murphy’s band and his own natural charisma, it was hard not to feel a sense of worry for the singer and a touch of disappointment in what was sure to be a triumphant return to the stage, especially as the evening concluded after a mere twelve songs were performed.
Peter Murphy’s residency continues tonight and concludes tomorrow with a back-to-back tribute to David Bowie. We’re sending our best to Murphy for a speedy recovery, and looking forward to great things to come for the remainder of the year.
In the Flat Field
A God in an Alcove
She’s in Parties
All We Ever Wanted Was Everything
Bela Lugosi’s Dead
Severance (Dead Can Dance cover)
Photos by Frank Deserto