Sunday, Oct. 2, 2011 | 1:39 p.m.
Robin Leach's Vegas DeLuxe
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Sitting inside The Pearl at The Palms after FrankMusik concluded his fantastically produced opening set, you could feel the energy from the crowd begin to bubble over. English synthpop duo Erasure returned to Las Vegas on Friday night to satisfy fans who’ve been waiting years for the group to bring back their bass-heavy magic to any stage daring enough to hold them.
Once onstage, the team opened with lead singer Andy Bell, decked out in a Thracian helmet (directly from the set of 300) and a cherry red bedazzled suit jacket borrowed from Liberace’s closet. Songwriter/keyboardist Vince Clarke casually set up shop on his instrument behind a monstrous gargoyle stage prop.
Erasure began their show with “Sono Luminus” as the crowd’s screams pulsated throughout The Pearl, which praised Bell’s powerful vocals over the early hit, as well as songs like “Chains of Love” and “A Little Respect.” Early fans of Erasure also were more than happy to mouth the lyrics of many early 1980s hits such as “Ship of Fools,” “Blue Savannah” and “Drama!” -- all of which were included in the set list.
Before founding Erasure, Clarke was a member of Depeche Mode and Yaz before meeting singer Bell in England in 1985. And more than 25 years later, the duo has released 14 albums, which includes their latest, Tomorrow’s World. During this world tour, named after their new release, Erasure gave fans a taste of the new album, performing “When I Start to (Break It All Down),” “Fill Us With Fire” and “Save Me (You've Got to Save Me Right Now)” for the first time in America.
Joined by two beautiful, synchronized backup singers (and possible twins), Bell charmed the crowd with his impromptu dance moves all over the stage in between vocal cadences during each of the team’s sonic, bass-heavy tunes. And while Bell sang, Clarke remained stoic on the keyboards before joining his partner in pop at the front of the stage with his guitar on "Love to Hate You," which brought an even higher energy to the crowd.
A wardrobe change by Bell onstage electrified the place as Clarke and his scissors cut off the vest of a now shirtless Bell before he slipped on a ripped, multicolored sleeveless T and sunglasses, which the crowd loved. As Erasure flowed through each song, the concertgoers and their assorted ages throughout the theater were very noticeable. Multiple generations of Erasure fans sang the lyrics to each song while dancing through the aisles of The Pearl with the same amount of passion as Bell’s vocal performance.
Glow sticks and cell phones lit up the sea of fans, as Bell teared through each song while peppering stories of his time spent in Las Vegas, which included finding money left at a slot machine to getting carded while trying to go swimming at Palms Pool & Bungalows.
Erasure’s charisma lies within their freedom. The bass in their set’s tunes could be felt pounding in your chest as Bell’s continued movements (sans choreography) on and away from the mic prompted a steady stream of echoing screams by everyone in the place. And with the soulful background vocals of the twins, which gave the duo’s synthesizing music a heartfelt spirit to join Bell’s booming voice, songs like “Victim of Love,” “Hideaway” and “Sometimes” sounded even more passionate as Clarke’s keyboard and guitar solos gave the songs new, imaginative life for fans of the early songs.
Erasure left nothing on the stage! Exiting The Pearl, fans talked about how exhausted they were from performing along with the legendary group near their seats, and some of the younger fans looked to head to the closest nightclub to keep the energy going from Andy Bell and Vince Clarke.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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