The glorious resurrection after ten years of silence.
It's Siouxsie's first concert in ten years, and I'm lucky enough to be there. Lucky is the right word, because when I sat down at my computer to get tickets on February 3, I knew it would not be a piece of cake. The performance was indeed sold out in ten minutes. They say you need to be fast to get what you want, and that has often played tricks on me. But this time, unbelievably, I was faster than the rest.
Entering the concert hall went less quickly. Relying on modern technology, I didn't bother to print or download my ticket. But I failed to open my ticket through hotmail, and I had no option but to rush back to work and print the ticket. Fortunately, my work is only ten minutes from the AB, but I will not easily forgive Bill Gates for this.
Who certainly did not excel in speed was Siouxsie herself. I was of course relieved when I entered the room to notice that I had not missed anything. The hall was full, but the DJ apparently already ended his set. Eventually, there was music again, but by then we had expected the lady herself on stage, and she was late.
When Siouxsie finally emerges, half an hour late – to the sound of a symphonic nursery rhyme – everything went into overdrive. She started with ‘Night Shift’ and proved she still has a very good voice, an aspect that was doubted by many before the show. She is dressed in a light blue dress and has grey locks in her dark hair. The song is perfectly executed, maybe even better than the original.
Siouxsie immediately addresses us in French: ‘Bonsoir tout le monde. Unfortunately I'm a bit late, but a few minutes don't make up for ten years. On y va!’ The lady knows the language well, because she actually had a Walloon father and also lived in France for years. When ‘Arabian Nights’ blares through the speakers next, we know it's going to be a wonderful evening. ‘I heard a rumor’ also applies to us, because there are rumors going around here. That Debbie Harry would be here. Or that there will be a reunion of The Banshees.
With ‘Here Comes That Day’, Siouxsie plays a song from her last solo CD from 2007, after she had stopped both The Banshees and The Creatures - the more rhythmic and world music-inspired side project with her then-husband Budgie. Two more songs from that rather poppy solo album will follow later: ‘Loveless’ and ‘Into A Swan’. We only get to hear the debut song from The Creatures: ‘But Not Them’, but with ‘Kiss Them For Me’ we do get a song on which The Banshees also experimented with dance and world music.
‘I've never done a set with so many singles’, Siouxsie assures us, ‘let us know if you want us to slow down.’ What follows is a flaming version of ‘Dear Prudence’, one of the Beatles covers the Banshees did. Indeed, although Siouxsie came from punk, she always remained a Beatles fan. How great is her voice and the whole sound! I am far from the stage and it is difficult to judge the appearance of the lady of 65 years old, but I can assure everyone that she is beautiful from afar.
As a teenager, Siouxsie was part of the Bromley Contingent, the early punks hanging around with the Sex Pistols. When the punk pioneers were invited along with some fans on the prime time program 'Today', Siouxsie said provocatively that she had always wanted to meet presenter Bill Grundy. When Grundy replied that they might want to meet after the show, guitarist Steve Jones swore at him, using expressions that were far too coarse for British television at the time. It led to a major scandal.
Siouxsie also caused a stir in the early punk scene when she performed a twenty-minute version of the Lord's Prayer in her first performance, with the completely unmusical Sid Vicious on the drums, who would later become the (pseudo) bassist of the Sex Pistols, and would die of an overdose after killing his girlfriend Nancy. Siouxsie did not shy away from controversy at the time, appearing in latex suits with exposed breasts and a swastika bracelet, ostensibly to provoke the bourgeoisie.
But back to the performance. After 'Land's End', Siouxsie also proves to speak three words of Dutch: ‘dank u wel’. ‘Cities In Dust’ obviously gets the people dancing. Siouxsie herself also dances vigorously. She has always been an outspoken personality on stage, and she still is tonight. Some say that Cure frontman Robert Smith – who was a guitarist in The Banshees on two occasions – learned from her how to develop his stage persona, and the man himself said that his experience in Siouxsie's band also influenced him musically.
On ‘Sin In My Heart’, the lady herself takes a guitar in hand, and after that we just got an avalanche of hits from the early days of The Banshees. ‘Christine’, ‘Happy house’ and ‘Spellbound’ follow each other in short succession, and the ecstasy in the audience is correspondingly high. Unfortunately, the group turned out to have had enough after that. Well, they come back and play the experimental hit ‘Peek-A-Boo’, but especially a flaming version of the Iggy Pop song ‘The Passenger’ as apotheosis.
Siouxsie only needed an hour and a half to win over the audience. Of course we can list a few more songs that we would have liked to hear, but we were actually present at the glorious resurrection after no less than ten years of silence. All the innuendoes about a bad voice or a set without old hits turned out to be completely wrong. Siouxsie was in top condition at 65 years old and treated the public to a whole series of Banshees hits.
This was a performance for a small group of the chosen few, but the lady is now embarking on a real world tour. Anyone who missed her in the AB can still buy a ticket for her performance at the Lokerse Feesten on Monday 7 August, together with Placebo and The Haunted Youth. If you were still in doubt, you can now book with total peace of mind. It will be good.
Setlist: Night Shift / Arabian Knights / Here Comes That Day / Kiss Them for Me / Dear Prudence / Face to Face / Loveless / Land's End / Cities in Dust / But Not Them / Sin in My Heart / Christine / Happy House / Into a Swan / Spellbound
Encore: Peek-A-Boo / The Passenger