I was able to see Echo & The Bunnymen live during their original incarnation in the mid-1980s, and live, they were a much different band.
Whereas their albums were usually clean and precise, in concert, they were much looser, stretching songs out, with Will Sergeant improvising riffs and Ian McCullough not only playing with his words, but often throwing other people’s words in as well.
A perfect example is the version of “Do It Clean” that they released on a stopgap EP — featuring the non-album single “Never Stop” — between Porcupine and Ocean Rain.
Faster than the studio version, natch, but what is unexpected is the noise solo that Sergeant indulges after a couple of verses that ends abruptly and drops into a bass & drum groove so that McCullough can indulge in the grand rock ‘n’ roll tradition of tossing other people’s lyrics into his own songs.
So first it’s “All You Need is Love,” and as Sergeant tosses more jagged riffs into the fray, it’s “Sex Machine,” “Bony Maronie” and “When I Fall in Love (It Will be Forever”) where the whole band drops down and builds back up on a long Pete DeFritas.
Lotsa bands do this, of course: McCullough’s long-time nemesis, Bono, has been doing it from the very start, and probably the last thing he ever sings in public will have been written by John Lennon or Lou Reed.
Finally, the rip back into the first verse of “Do It Clean” proper, and end the song after one more chorus.
Weirdly enough, there is an absolutely terrific live album from the 1983 concert this performance comes from, which doesn’t include “Do it Clean” for reasons that are beyond even my speculation.
“Do it Clean” performed live at the Royal Albert Hall, 1983