Suede @ Ancienne Belgique, Brussels BE – 6 February 2016
In an attempt to better promote their latest releases, it became customary for bands to include live auditions in their tours. And playing latest albums in their entirely before playing a set of greatest hits has started to work out pretty well on the live scene today; especially for conceptual albums. But it mostly happens because the devoted fans have the patience and enough respect to watch their favourite band going through the latest material, even if, let’s be honest, nobody goes to a concert to listen to the new songs. But in early 2016, one band managed to change the game. Suede performed the ‘Night Thoughts’ in full, but they’ve chosen not to punish their fans; instead, they brought everyone in for a treat.
‘Night Thoughts’ live was an unexpected ingenious experience. A white screen divided the stage from the audience and a silent movie was being projected during the entire audition. The band sang from behind the screen, providing live soundtrack. The movie (directed by the NME music photographer Roger Sargent) was as dark as the music, with a plot revolving around a family drama of losing a child. The story started off quite abruptly, giving little time to audience to get used to what they had in front of their eyes. The album revealed itself in its entire splendour, song after song, 12 tracks with no break, no announcements, no interruptions. But the cinematic production did not stop at ‘watching a movie while listening to the band‘ point. Every now and then, the band was becoming visible on screen, while the movie was still going on, making appearance via spotlights and melting into the projected film while singing live. The result was quite amazing, offering a totally new perspective of what it means to attend and, moreover, watch a concert.
The second part of the show did ‘justice to the ghosts of the past’, to quote Brett Anderson. The screen was gone and the ambience changed considerably. Suede played a set of greatest hits mostly from their ‘93 self-titled debut album – So Young, Metal Mickey, Moving – and , of course, Trash and The Beautiful Ones from ‘Coming Up’, without forgetting ‘Bloodsports’ or ‘Head Music’ but also going acoustics from time to time, taking a well-deserved break from an otherwise highly energetic performance.
Still loyal to the Britpop looks, they haven’t brought much change into their appearance and famous stage moves and despite being middle-aged, they spread out a youthful energy without falling into obsolete, not even when Brett Anderson cracked his mic cable like a whip (that being the most eccentric thing done). The stage euphoria checked also the shaking hands with fans, the requests for singing along and a lot of running around. Despite all the effort, Anderson’s vocals remained outstanding.
Suede offered a memorable event of high artistic quality followed by an energetic performance in front of an enthusiastic audience with whom they innately connected, a connection which transformed nostalgia into heartfelt entertaining.
Setlist: Suede at Ancienne Belgique, Brussels, Belgium on setlist.fm
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You can read this review also on Concert Monkey