Thursday, 16 September 2021

Peepshow, Creepshow

Thirty-three years ago today, I saw Siouxsie & The Banshees live in concert for the first and only time at the Colston Hall in Bristol. I referenced this briefly back in March 2021, in a related post over at The Vinyl Villain about seeing Pete Shelley's Zip supporting Erasure at the same venue. This was part of a frequent 'gig swap' with friends, where I would go along to see a band I didn't have a lot of interest in at the time (Erasure), so that I could get to see a band I really wanted to see (Siouxsie & The Banshees). I went to both gigs with my college friend Paul, who was mainly into hip hop and rap (and James Brown), and was also a fan of Erasure. I'm pretty sure he had little or no idea who Siouxsie & The Banshees were, but was game for a laugh...although they were likely to be in short supply where we were going. 
16th September 1988 was a Friday night. I'd dropped out of college and been in full-time work for a few months, so it's a fair guess that we may have skipped the support act to down a few pints at local pub The Bunch Of Goths before going into the venue. Either way, I have no recollection of the support band that night and a search on the web hasn't helped much. Suicide was the opening act at Liverpool's Royal Court Theatre on 12th December 1988. if Suicide was also there that night in Bristol, I either missed it or completely forgot something possibly quite special. As referenced in my previous post on The Vinyl Villain, I've clearly been affected by False Memory Syndrome (or alcohol amnesia), as most of the night is a blur three decades on.

Once more, some kind soul has uploaded the night's setlist to the, er, Setlist website, so I have been able to recreate what Siouxsie & The Banshees played that night. Unsurprisingly, given that it was released a couple of weeks previously and gave the tour it's name, their ninth studio album Peepshow was highlighted. However, I was surprised to find that the entire album was played over the course of the night, accounting for half of the setlist. I hadn't bought Peepshow prior to the concert - and in fact I didn't buy it until the expanded CD reissue in 2014 - so I was as unfamiliar as Paul was with most of the songs. They did play lots of favourites of mine, including Cities In Dust, which was the first Siouxsie & The Banshees single I bought, way back in 1985 on 12" vinyl.
I recall being completely mesmerised by Siouxsie Sioux. I also thought that Steve Severin and Budgie were pretty cool and, of their newly expanded 5-piece line up, I'd also heard of Martin McCarrick because of his involement with This Mortal Coil. To my retrospective shame, I had no idea who Jon Klein was, other than the Banshees seemed to favour guitarists called John. Worse still, given that Jon Klein was born in Bristol, also my birthspace. Where's the loyalty and support for local artists?! I've since been educated...
Juju was the first Siouxsie & The Banshees album I bought (in fact, one of the first albums I bought, full stop), originally on cassette and one which I played and played to death. So, it was a thrill to hear Night Shift half way through. The other two selections from that album - Arabian Knights and Spellbound - were held back for the inevitable finale.
Reviews of the tour appeared to be lukewarm. I clearly don't remember a lot about the night, other than I personally thought they were great. I think Paul was less impressed and that was probably the last gig swap that we did. Listening to the recreated setlist, although the Peepshow songs aren't always on a par with the others, I'm struck by the wonderful sequencing of 'hits', early album tracks, a few unexpected B-sides, some enduring favourites and three encores. The setlist neatly divides into two sides of a C90 cassette, if you're so inclined - links below for your listening pleasure. Jeepers Creepers!
Part One (45:11)
1) The Last Beat Of My Heart (Album Version) (1988)
2) Turn To Stone (1988)
3) The Killing Jar (Lepidopteristic Mix - Full Length) (1988)
4) I Promise (1984)
5) Ornaments Of Gold (1988)
6) Christine (1980)
7) This Wheel's On Fire (Full Length Version) (Cover of Bob Dylan & The Band) (1987)*
8) Something Blue (1987)
9) Scarecrow (1988)
10) Rawhead And Bloody Bones (1988)
* This version appeared on 2002's The Best Of Siouxsie & The Banshees and is approx. 30 seconds longer than the original album version, with an extended outro.
Part Two (45:56)
1) Carousel (1988)
2) Night Shift (1981)
3) Red Light (Album Version (1980)
4) Peek-A-Boo (Album Version) (1988)
5) Rhapsody (1988)
6) Cities In Dust (Album Version) (1985)
7) Skin (1980)
8) Burn-Up (1988)
9) Dear Prudence (Single Version) (1983)
10) Arabian Knights (Album Version) (1981)
11) Spellbound (Album Version) (1981) 



  1. I'm still giggling at Rap, hip-hop and ...erasure!

    1. In my record collection, I had Bauhaus filed next to Big Audio Dynamite and Bronski Beat, so I was in no position to pass comment :-)

      I've got Paul to thank for getting me into Public Enemy and Beastie Boys, though I could definitely have done without Doug E. Fresh & The Get Fresh Crew...

  2. The 12" of Cities in Dust was my first purchase of this band too. I still play it often.

    1. I prefer the 12" version over the album version and the B-sides were great too. Quarterdrawing Of The Dog popped up on quite a few mixtapes for friends at the time.

  3. Loved Peek- a- Boo but couldn't tell you anything about the rest of the album. Recreating gigs attended 30 years ago is a work of devotion I approve of.

    1. Pretty much the same for me, Adam. Even after belatedly buying the expanded CD and uploading it, I can see that I've rarely played Peepshow in its entirety since. Peek-A-Boo was a real surprise and much as I like the follow up singles The Killing Jar and The Last Beat Of My Heart, there was really nothing else to match it.