The Psychedelic Furs And James Rule The Zoo


Go to enough outdoor shows and you get familiar with the distinct smell of weed when someone in the crowd decides to light up. Last night at Music in the Zoo, that smell was replaced with the distinct scent of OFF mosquito repellent. Clearly the crowd was well prepared for the Zoo’s least popular animals as they came to see The Psychedelic Furs and James.

James presented me with a triple surprise. 

#1 Remember curly haired young looking singer from the 1993 video for “Laid”? Fast forward to 2019 and Tim Booth would look right at home as a martial arts instructor especially wearing the wide black pants and white shirt he did last night.

#2 Dang, I forgot just how great a band James is! There are so many layers to the sound the 7 band members produce. James has a catalog of over 300 songs and they make up their set list to suit their mood each night (and that there tells you everything you need to know about the level James is playing on). Last night, we got the calm setlist – as Booth put it: “You are a quiet audience, aren’t you?” That did not last long, “Many Faces” had most of the crowd singing along.  Booth and horn player Andy Diagram performed one song from the audience. As they returned to the stage, venue staff pulled out a couple of yellow cords to block off an area. “They are putting up barriers to protect you. That won’t work!” quipped Booth.

#3 “Laid” the one song everyone knows and catapulted James into the public eye in the US. Not on the set list, not played, not a single note. And as much as fans (myself included) may have wanted to hear that one song, it would have taken away from a perfect set. Well played James, well played.

Set List: Out to Get You \ Leviathan \ What’s It All About \ Hank \ All I’m Saying \ P.S. \ Nothing but Love \ Many Faces \ Sound \ Sometimes 

Klaus Nomi’s “The Cold Song” brought the Furs to the stage – I wish there would have been a video to show just how brilliantly weird of an artist he was to the unsuspecting audience. 
Well I can fix that

This was my third time seeing The Psychedelic Furs. I was all set to write about how the great chemistry with their fans and how the band manages to connect with them even though they haven’t released any new material in almost 30 years. And then the unthinkable happened: The day before the show the Furs announced a new album to be released in 2020. So much for that story line…….

So in good news, chemistry with their fans still has to be seen to be believed. From Richard Butler’s bouncy “Hello!” to the last note of their set most fans were on their feet and dancing. The Furs appeal spans generations, from the 80s John Hughes movies to the current Stranger Things. 

Fans got treated to one song from the new album that sounded quite promising. But of course it was the hits and especially “Heaven” that go the loudest cheers from the audience. James’ Diagram returned for one song. The set was just over one hour and The Psychedelic Furs proved they have not lost one bit of their magic. I for one look very much forward to their new album.

Set List (needs confirmation) Love My Way \ Mr. Jones \ The Ghost in You \ Sister Europe \ Highwire Days \ Heaven \ Into You Like a Train \ The Boy That Invented Rock & Roll \ Pretty in Pink \ President Gas \ Sleep Comes Down \ India Encore: Heartbreak Beat