The great rock n roll’ keep them guessing game was in operation at the start of the main set, as the three members of the Eels arrived on stage minus E (Mark Oliver Everret), hitting thumping bass lines and razor sharp riffs for the instrumental introduction. Then the beaming laser spotlight spun sharply around the venue before fixating on a side exit in the middle of the room, where the colourful E appeared and made a Tyson like entrance to the stage playing a harmonica and surrounded by security personnel.
Termed the ‘2003 tour of duty’, quite what the duty is remains a mystery. However, if it is to bring some sincerity and fun back into music then it certainly worked. All previous albums including ‘Beautiful Freak’ were utilised, as the crowd were provided with ‘Novocaine for the soul’ that was played with gusto like it was a fresh new tune. The crude, morbid poetic nature of older songs like ‘Dog Faced Boy’, ‘Souljacker part1’ and ‘Last stop: This Town’ that made the band big still impressed the masses. The latter number had the usually buzzing audience stunned to silence as the dark lyrics closed in on them:
‘You're dead, but the world keeps spinnin' Take a spin through the world you left It's gettin'dark a little too early Are you missing the dearly bereft?’
The mercurial Mr.E despite singing the above mentioned songs with heart declared that he was not at all sad, as all evening he would joke with the audience and disclose interesting facts like according to him the late great Barry White was from Liverpool. This gave a whole new meaning to the term E-learning. Mr.E expressed his pleasure and admiration with the audience for their impressive rhythmic clapping and implored them to do something nice for themselves the next day:
“That jumper that you thought was out of your range….Go and buy it.”
At one point during the evening Mr.E was playing the piano with one hand and the drums with another. Proceedings ended on a high note with an upbeat song from the new album ‘Shootenanny’ entitled ’Somebody Love You’ containing life enhancing lyrics:
‘You've got to be your good friendSomebody loves you And you're gonna make it through’
A point well made Mr.E!