Editors Live in Chicago

In fine form, the Chicago winter took its toll on the opening band. I can’t tell you who they were because, unfortunately, they couldn’t make an appearance. They missed the show and all the Editors’ enthusiasts were pleased as punch. The Birmingham, England band put on an exquisite show. It wasn’t a circus and it most certainly wasn’t acoustic night on VH-1.

Lead singer, Tom Smith didn’t give any song history. There was no idle chit-chat and there were no jokes. One could use this as criticism, but after researching them and listening to their albums, it wouldn’t be fair to expect that kind of treatment. Sure, they could have been warm and friendly, but that just wouldn’t be Editors-esque. Smith stayed true to his persona and dark existential ideology. He went on stage and rocked out the best way he could – authentically and with gusto. They worked up a mighty sweat and the crowd felt the euphoria.

I stood in the front row amazed. I was anxiously waiting to hear the next song, not only to connect the dots from what I’d already heard on their albums, but also to connect to the rest of the audience. Everyone around me were loyal fans, some of them wanting to tell me their personal stories and talk about the music. While I didn’t feel a palpable audience-band relationship ala The Dave Matthews Band or Jimmy Buffett, there was still a strong depth and web of appreciation. The guy standing next to me was from their neighborhood in Birmingham. He just happened to be in town visiting friends and made it a point to come out to the show to support the local boys. There was the most charming lady next to him who was dressed to the nines, a shiny black coif with 1920s finger waves. Her obviously droll friend ditched her at the last minute and yet she still came, to revel in her favorite band with her favorite people-other Editors fans. There was this lingering ‘nice’ feeling…quite to the contrary of Editors’ lyrics and presuppositions that life is ghastly and meaningless.

The stage was minimally propped with different colored lights. All of Chicago’s Vic Theater had the appeal of a jazz lounge. It was the perfect venue with leather bench seating and gin almost leeching through every crack in the concrete. It was small and intimate. The people were actually interested in the music. I knew they weren’t there just because they had nothing better to do. They weren’t bored. They were intense. They were focused on getting a raw experience, a very special presentation of “Blood,” “Munich” to name a few of their pop hits from previous albums and of course, the first big hit “Papillion” from their current release, In This Light and On This Evening. While I was eagerly awaiting “All Sparks,” everyone else remained ecstatic and by the time they played the beloved song “An End Has a Start,” there was disco-dance frenzy. The entire crowd was jumping and spinning around like tether balls on a junior high playground. All I could do was stand back and smile.

Editors fans know that the band is recognized and respected musicians pretty much everywhere. They play all over Europe and Australia with huge receptions and critical acclaim. However, they haven’t had the same press coverage or attention here in the States. Hopefully, their shows and God willing, maybe even this particular feature, will change all that. You may be surprised to find out that it wasn’t too long ago that I basically panned their newest album. I really did’nt like it as much as I like their two previous albums. I didn’t know what I was missing until I went to their show and saw the live version. If you go to one of their performances, you’ll fall in love. I could tell all the women in the crowd were there to give Tom an intimate invitation (FYI: he’s married with a newborn, but a girl can dream). Yes, I admit their music videos are a bloody fusion of Rick Astley and Robert Palmer and yes, “In This Light and On This Evening” doesn’t come close to the rest of their work, but anyone that appreciates good music, real music with no stupid gimmicks, music that awakens something in your psyche, you must see Editors up-close, face-to-face.