The song-cycle was first performed in the studio of the St. James Theatre, London on Thursday 24 July 2014 in front of an invited audience of family and friends. It was performed for a second time on Saturday 26 July 2014 for a small gathering of Erasure fans. These were try-out shows before a near two week run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival where the show was performed at the Assembly Studio One venue daily from Tuesday 5 August 2014 to Saturday 16th August, 2014 inclusive.
Freshly—-The content of this brief interlude is uncomfortable and decidedly gay [SURPRISE]…but it is always nice to hear Andy and his voice in a different context…this leads us to…
Teacher, Teacher—- this track as well…has underlying messages that remind me of experiences from my life somewhat uncomfortable…but Bell….allows his voice to take on that theatrical element…making me smile to myself. Minimalist and bare…the voice is all that is necessary…..
Free—-Quiet and full of underlying blips that are Erasure sounding o me, Bell is at his best here…unconstrained and comfortable…I don’t really understand the whole concept of this record…but anything new is welcome…I love this. The double tracked vocal is classic….filling me with a sense of joy.
Star For Life—-Full of camp and classic lines that Bell cold include on any Erasure single, this is almost brilliant to me. This man has a remarkable voice and the double entendres are classic gay life! There are some nice Erasure sounding keyboards….making me feel very happy…this is a stage play come to life.
Bingo Hall Baby—-With a slight blues lean, this only proves that Bell can deliver any kind of music that he prefers to do. This is full of camp and references to gay life…it is worth a huge listen if you are a fan and so inclined.So theatrical and gay!!!! Remarkable.
Fountain Of Youth—-Subtle and quiet piano ushers i this epic track [7 minutes]. The entire thing is a stage play come to life through music that is full of hints and clues that only those of the lifestyle can understand. Bell delivers such a strong vocal…making me sit here with a slight smile on my face as he seems to be so at home with the content and the message. This is entertaining if nothing else.
World Without End—-Brief and full of theater piano….this is stripped down and sounds like a Patti LuPone song…I’m just laughing…..I LOVE THIS!!!! Never thought I would hear Andy proclaim FUCK ME!!!!!
V For…..?—- Subtle violins….a pretty interlude that allows Bell to sing wonderfully campy and actually utter the word VAGINA…..oh my!!!!
I Don’t Like—-Quiet piano moves us forward and the gentle strains of the violin usher in Andy and his remarkable voice. It seems effortless for this man to tell a story with just his voice…this is remarkable and pretty. Powerful and subtle….the turning of the Shrew…lol!
Mobile—-Static and full of sarcastic vocals, Bell fits in with this story perfectly. This is not a CD you will listen to everyday…or ever…but it is a nice addition to the collection of the mans body of work. This is pretentious….unpretentious….sarcastic and biting….just about brilliant!
The Boy From The Sauna—-This is decidedly gay and unapologetic….only other gay people can understand all of the underlying references to the habits of closeted gay people in the search for sex. This is perhaps the most brilliant move Bell has made beyond singing with K.D. Lang!
Weston-Super-Mare—-Not understanding what this entire thing is all about, I can only appreciate the vocal and the over the top delivery…more over the top than usual…lol…this is a pleasant and interesting listen.
[We Waited For] The Circus—-Not to be confused with the classic Erasure track, this is fun and interesting. Full of a tuba and classic Circus noises…a Gay Mans adventure in the back tent. This is almost as magical as Wllie Wonka!!!
Good Things—-Gentle and full of the changing life that many Gay people feel…when the youth begins to shift and people no longer wish to be involved because you cease to be one of the beautiful people…this is a journey…interesting to say the least.
People Come. People Go—-Sparse and with little fanfare, this track leans back o the familiar piano line that seems to run through this entire opus. This is sad…but enlightening. Bell double tracks his vocal…giving the entire thing a fuller sound!
Don’t Call Me Up—-With a scratchy record sound in the backdrop…this makes me think of Elsa on American Horror Story. The loneliness and the longing almost takes over my headphones…the doubt…the longing…the letting go and obtaining….such is the life we live. This is an incredible song!
Tell Me The Story—-Fucking hilarious as the lyrics are recited. This is a encapsulation of classic gay life that perhaps no straight person could ever understand. This has every cliche’ and innuendo possible shoved into 2 minutes or less…just brilliant!!!
This Gay Thing Isn’t Working—- We have been there if we have lived this life for any period of time…this thing just is not working. I feel the frustration and the loneliness….or I did….until I gave it time to work. The song becomes a huge romp all of the sudden….becoming a huge electro-disco affair…this is brilliant!
Aflame—-Sounding like a classic erasure track at the beginning, this dissolves into another piano laden Broadway inspired ode to the gay life and the cost of heartbreak and despair…lets hope this ends up with a happy ending….just don’t see that happening though!!!
Mr. Average—-Isn’t this is what happens when you become older in this lifestyle….sooner or later, you stop chasing the wonderful people and instead accept life and love as it is…we need love and people like ourselves…we can’t chase the wild dream any longer…we accept the love we are given….I love the line….’remember when the Pet Shop Boys were still new?’
Is It Not Enough?—-Brilliant…..Bell hits notes I have not heard in years!!!! Who even knew he could still do that? Brilliant….exuberant and sad at the same time….this will not end wonderfully well…..
As I Prepare To Take My Life—-Ending on a very sad note…the music betrays the sadness that is portrayed. But life does not end that way…I am living proof…y life is happier and more joyous than ever. Now at 51…I beg for 50 years more…..I Am not a saint…but I am happy.
***1/2 out of 5