More about: Editors
An incredibly memorable two-hour powerhouse repertoire
The Wembley SSE Arena is playing host to a huge set: a chance for long-standing fans of Editors to hear a two-hour powerhouse tour of their repertoire. Tonight (28 February), the entire general admission section is shoulder-to-shoulder as the band take their places, and it's abundantly clear that the room is overwhelmingly excited.
Those unmistakably lofty, rangy guitar are so loud that by the time Tom Smith launches into his first line, the sheer power the band have already thrown at this Wembley crowd has set the tone: this is to be a joyous reprisal of some of Editors’ best-loved and newer works.
The crowd throw themselves full-throatedly at the initial trio of ‘An End Has a Start’, ‘Bullets’ and ‘Bones’. The opening line of the former may have set a world record for the largest collective weather forecast ever made as several thousand people bellow "I don’t think that it’s gonna rain again today".
Smith is already holding his guitar aloft by the middle eight of the second song, confirming this to be every inch a rock gig proper. A lighting maelstrom and a percussion performance that wouldn’t have felt out of place in the score of 1917 ensues. Opening: Well and truly nailed.
Stylistically, the band fuses some pretty disparate material. It takes real skill to keep a crowd engaged in the more mature and less rigidly structured works that accompany some of the earlier thumping, synth-drenched pieces. Happily, lead singer Tom Smith possesses one of the most distinctive voices in recent memory, allowing his elegant vocals to reverberate across the spectrum of the back catalogue.
Smith has spoken on the band’s desire to write emotional songs, and their capacity to do so is patently evident tonight as they hold the arena in tight suspense through the duration of longer instrumentals which accompany tracks such as ‘Upside Down’, and ‘Frankenstein’ - the reception of which borders on the monastic.
Smith’s stage presence is as unique as his vocals: at the haunting outset of ‘Sugar’ he gazes into the stage lights, bending and twisting his thin frame into shapes that rival a figure skater, his body expanding and contracting with the ebb and flow of the sound.
Just after the halfway mark, the majority of the band leave Tom onstage for an acoustic version of 2013’s ‘No Sound but the Wind’: an outstanding moment that gives the audience a small reprieve.
Total pandemonium erupts as the unmistakeable thump of ‘Papillon’ reverberates around the arena. Longstanding fans of the band know that Editors have created some of the most intoxicating riffs around, and coupled with the type of sound the SSE can muster, you feel pretty much powerless to resist standing still.
The energy put into this show is unquestionably constant, but it's the crowd that most passionately mirrors the fervour of earlier material. As Editors travel towards the conclusion with ‘The Racing Rats’, ‘Munich’ and ‘Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors’, I remember exactly what brought me to love the band so dearly in the mid-2000s.
Editors have had what has felt like an evergreen presence in the British Alternative scene, but relatively few would have thought going to see the band live would be such a dramatic prospect. At times solemn and austere yet equally buoyant and abundantly emotional, the band have the kind of range which in this light and on this evening, created something incredibly memorable.
An End Has a Start
Escape the Nest
Ocean of Night
No Sound but the Wind
A Ton of Love
Eat Raw Meat = Blood Drool
Fingers in the factories
You Are Fading
The Racing Rats
Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors
More about: Editors
Photo: Jonathan Dadds