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Concert Review: Peter Murphy – The Coach House, San Juan Capistrano, CA

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The second leg of Peter Murphy’s North American tour in support of Ninth found him co-headlining with She Wants Revenge. I was fortunate enough to see the antepenultimate date on December 8, 2011 as Murphy’s performed a career-spanning set where he again demonstrated what a captivating showman he is. His vocals were strong with rare rough notes, likely a combination of touring and his age, where the highs and lows didn’t have the fullness of years past, something completely understandable for a man of 54.

The Coach House has an odd set up for a concert hall. There’s no dance floor in front of the stage and the majority of the seating resembles a school cafeteria with long tables and chairs on either side of them. During the opening number, “All Night Long,” he walked down one table, which caused female fans to swoon with delight, as did his bat dance and poses he struck during “Velocity Bird.”

By “Peace on Earth,” the third song in the set, the sound engineer finally found the right balance for the music, allowing Murphy’s vocals to blend well with his talented backing band of guitarist Mark Gemini Thwaite, drummer Nick Lucero, and bassist/violinist Jeff Shartoff. The trio aptly captured the amalgam of sounds, which include rock, goth, and Middle Eastern, that Murphy has worked with over the years.

Murphy picked up the acoustic guitar and was accompanied by violin, which augmented the haunting beauty “A Strange Kind of Love.” The crowd were thrilled when lyrics from Bauhaus’ “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” made their way into the song. Murphy would revisit his old band’s work with “Silent Hedges,” “All We Ever Wanted Was Everything,” and a raucous rendition of David Bowie’s “Ziggy Stardust” to close out the night.

Though Murphy was affable between songs as he spoke to the crowd, even getting a bit silly during one of his more long-winded monologue; however, he was irate that people were eating during the show. When threatening to confront the person didn’t garner the desired reaction, he said he would cut the show short.

The encore began with Murphy back on acoustic for a rendition for the gentle “Marlene Dietrich’s Favourite Poem” and then continually upped the intensity with “All We Ever Wanted Was Everything,” his biggest hit “Cuts You Up,” and the aforementioned “Ziggy Stardust” to complete a very satisfying evening of music.

But don’t take my word for it. Watch the video after the set list as long as it is available.

· All Night Long
· Velocity Bird
· Peace to Each
· Memory Go
· A Strange Kind of Love
· I’ll Fall With Your Knife

· I Spit Roses
· The Prince & Old Lady Shade
· Silent Hedges
· Subway
· Gaslit
· Deep Ocean Vast Sea
· Uneven & Brittle
· Encore:
· Marlene Dietrich’s Favourite Poem
· All We Ever Wanted Was Everything
· Cuts You Up
· Ziggy Stardust

All We Ever Wanted, Cuts You Up, Ziggy Stardust:

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About Gordon S. Miller

Gordon S. Miller is the artist formerly known as El Bicho, the nom de plume he used when he first began reviewing movies online for The Masked Movie Snobs in 2003. Before the year was out, he became that site's publisher. Over the years, he has also contributed to a number of other sites as a writer and editor, such as FilmRadar, Film School Rejects, High Def Digest, and Blogcritics. He is the Publisher of Cinema Sentries. Some of his random thoughts can be found at twitter.com/ElBicho_CS