The Psychedelic Furs and I Are Getting Old

31 May

Salem’s Catholic Center, which sadly, has seen better days. Check out the “For Lease” sign.

Last Saturday my sister and I went to see the Psychedelic Furs in Salem. We had never seen them back in the day, so we were excited that they were coming to town. They were one of many bands whose music formed the soundtrack to my life during my formative years in high school and college in the Eighties. The concert was held at the Catholic Center – the former parochial school of one of the city’s now-closed Catholic churches that currently serves as a bingo hall every Wednesday night. Sadly, it’s seen better days (the guy standing in line behind us while we were waiting to get in remarked that it reminded him of “1970s CCD”). So we were a little apprehensive about what a concert there would be like. But it turned out to be a great place for a concert. It wasn’t too big that you couldn’t see the band, but it was big enough that you could bop around in place without being moshed by other concert-goers. I hadn’t been to a concert in eighteen years because these days I’m practically a shut-in as far as night life goes, so I didn’t know if I could mosh with the best of them anymore. I was glad to see that I didn’t have to.

Lead singer Richard Butler and his guitarist brother Tim are the only original members of the band left. They opened with “I Hear a Heartbeat.” “Pretty in Pink” was third. They also played “The Ghost in You” and “Love My Way,” two other songs I really wanted to hear besides “Pretty in Pink” I was disappointed that they didn’t play “All That Money Wants” or “Alice’s House.” But it was a great show. Richard Butler looked old – not like Richard-Butler-but-older, just old. I think his large glasses hid his face so he didn’t look like the Richard Butler I remember from the album covers and the music videos. But that voice was unmistakeable – that gravely, ironic, iconic voice. It was a great show.

The band played for about an hour and fifteen minutes, then left the stage, only to return for an encore. And one encore only. Which was a relief, because as happy as I was to be there, I was also ready to go home. I would have felt bad leaving early if they had played a few encores. Dang, I must be getting old, just like Richard Butler. It happens to the best of us.

Here are some photos I took that evening. I apologize for the poor quality. I have an iPhone 3, a dinosaur compared to the iPhone 4. It couldn’t handle the glare from the stage lights as well as other people’s phones.

Richard Butler

Tim Butler

The Butler Brothers

Here’s “Pretty in Pink” from their concert in Salem:

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