Nostalgia: Were you at Erasure's record-breaking Edinburgh Playhouse concert series in 1992?

A motorised swan and a game of bingo, not things you’d expect to encounter at a pop concert but then, when Erasure came to the Edinburgh Playhouse in 1992 for a record-breaking eight night residency, theirs was no ordinary gig.

Tuesday, 5th October 2021, 12:30 pm
Andy Bell and Vince Clarke drag up at the Edinburgh Playhouse in 1992

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Camp, lavish and jumping, literally, as the balcony visibly bounced up and down in time to the beat when the audience took to their feet to dance, more than 24,000 fans saw Andy Bell and Vince Clarke crank out the hits in the series of concerts to promote their most recent album.

Ahead of Erasure's return to the Capital this week for two sold out concerts at the Usher Hall, super-fan and Black Diamond FM radio presenter Barry Dickson, one of those in attendance 29 years ago, recalls the residency vividly.

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Erasure - Vince Clarke and Andy Bell play Bingo on stage at the Playhouse theatre in Edinburgh, June 1992.

He remembers, "It was June 1992 and one of my all time favourite bands, Erasure, were on a record-breaking eight night stint at The Playhouse, I had been a fan for many years previous and had all the albums up until then from Wonderland to The Circus to Wild and now Chorus."

Dickson had last been to see Bell and Clarke in action live at Glasgow’s SECC, the Wild tour, in December 1989, but nothing had prepared him for Bell's arrival on stage that night, but then, the Playhouse gigs did promise to be a 'Phantasmagorical Entertainment'. A billing they quickly lived up to.

"I remember standing in the stalls with my girlfriend, now wife, Kerry (we married the following year) highly anticipating a great night and I wasn’t disappointed as Andy Bell came onto the stage in a motorised swan for the opening number Siren Song.

"We were then treated to a few hours of great music and theatrics with a game of bingo, I kid you not, thrown in for good measure; the plaid suits worn by our hosts at that point were very cheesy it but it was a fun part of the show and someone went home happy with a massive teddy bear."

Andy Bell, lead singer with Erasure in concert at the Edinburgh Playhouse

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Split into eight scenes, Act One of the concert opened with Scene 1: Swan Lake. Scene 2 was Shipwrecked, Scene 3 Night Clubbing, Scene 4 Abba-esque with Clarke in drag, with Scene 5 Streetlife bringing the lights down on the first act.

Act Two opened with Bell and Clarke 'cordially' inviting the audience to play 'a grand auditorium game of Bingo for delectable prizes' followed by Scene 6 Desert Songs, Scene 7 Space Planet before the curtain came down with Scene 8 White Out.

The residency was to promote Erasure's 1991 album Chorus and the setlist included all 10 songs from the LP as well as another 19.

Erasure frontman Andy Bell wearing his sparkly blue 'Rhinestone Cowboy' outfit on stage at the Playhouse theatre in Edinburgh, June 1992.

"The highlights for me were the new songs as it is a great album," says Dickson, adding, "and the ABBA segment which saw them perform all four songs from the ABBA-Esque EP. A rousing rendition of Sometimes finished off an amazing night.

"I still have the pull-out from the Edinburgh Evening News, the tour programme and my bingo card."

For those who weren't there, and for those whose were but need their memory jogged a little after nearly three decades, here's the playlist from that historic season of gigs. ​​The show opened with ​In the Hall of the Mountain King​ followed by ​Siren Song​ and ​Ship of Fools​.​ Chorus​, ​Breath of Life​, ​Chains of Love​ ​and Love to Hate You​ came next.

Then it was ​Joan​,​ Abba covers Voulez-Vous​, ​Take a Chance on Me​, ​SOS​, ​Lay All Your Love on Me​ and ​Am I Right?​ ​Oh l'amour​, ​Waiting for the Day​, ​Heart of Stone​, ​Stop!​ and ​Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo​ followed as did ​Who Needs Love Like That​, ​a cover of Tammy Wynette's Stand by Your Man​, ​The Soldier's Return​, ​Turns the Love to Anger​, ​Star​ and ​Blue Savannah​.

Another cover was next, Over the Rainbow​, then came ​Love Is a Loser​, ​A Little Respec​t and before a two song encore; Perfect Stranger​ and ​Sometimes​. ​​Were you there? Share your memories with us. ​

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