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Silent Hedges: Peter Murphy @ Troubadour, 6/29/11

June 30, 2011

He struts in place, the goth lord amongst a small contingency of his followers.

The Troubadour has housed many icons past, present, and future; I felt in awe to finally be within it’s walls, even if they took my gum away as I walked in…I thought that only happened in San Francisco! But I will give up my gum if it means I can breathe the same air as the likes of Jim Morrison, who’s near life-sized photograph adorns the wall by the bar. As long as no one minds the garlic still lingering on my breath from my decadent meal next door. I guess I’m safe from vampires…which is a valid remark considering Peter Murphy has been known to descend like one from the ceiling and the show would feature a member of the Twilight clan….

He begins singing ‘Velocity Bird’, but there is trouble amuck. The sound is right, he can’t hear…and unfortunately this would plague at least half of the show. Not that it mattered; we were there for the voice, and issues or not, it delivered. I’m not sure if it these issues caused the show to seem so ‘loose’, but it felt very casual. He spoke to the crowd, the front row specifically, often…I think this brought one girl to tears. He even pointed out hipsters; “you are now an established hipster”. He let a gay man touch his ‘boob’, he picked on the sound guys, he blessed the crowd…he was very chatty.

As he went into ‘I Spit Roses’ I thought about how the texture of his voice oddly enough reminded me of Waylon Jennings. He was joined onstage by actor Billy Burke, who plays Bella’s father in the Twilight movies, which Murphy makes a cameo in. Together they sang ‘Silent Hedges’ and then Burke sang ‘My Last Two Weeks’. It was a random but interesting guest appearance.

A highlight for me was the cover of The Stooges’ ‘Raw Power’. As he finished up the main set, I reflected on the time when I was lucky enough to see Bauhaus open for NIN, and how the beginning of ‘Double Dare’ ripped through Shoreline Amphitheater. And then the last time I saw Peter Murphy solo, back in HRC’s formative years.

The encore began with Bauhaus’ ‘Stigmata Martyr’. No luck with special appearances from members of That band, though. He played one song from his upcoming album called ‘Gaslamp’, and then the unfamiliar notes of that faded into very familiar notes of another…

I hadn’t listened to it since September 10th, 2009. To be honest, I hadn’t truly ‘listened’ to it in years. It’s one of the Earth’s most honest songs, and these days I prefer fantasy to reality. But there was Murphy’s velvet voice crooning those words…and tears flowed from my eyes. He removed my band-aid.

To add insult to injury, 20 minutes later I switched to the radio in my car for some reason and guess what happened to be playing:

Everyone I know goes away in the end.


  1. I have to admit I haven’t kept track of Peter Murphy, but his performance at the Casbah in San Diego was exceptionally good, once I got over his vulgarness. I didn’t expect him to be so sexual…up to now, I’d seen him once before live and he seemed very reserved, with not much banter, which was fine. I wasn’t even sure if he possessed genitalia before this tour. I thought his children might have been sprung up by magic or that his reserved nature might be due to new religion. I didn’t catch Bauhaus on tour either, but that might have given me a clue to what was to follow.

    Just as I got over the weirdness of Peter having a mouth like an Irish sailor (which was hard for me to digest), he locked eyes with me and then blew me a kiss. And then it was almost like, “So why aren’t you offering your hand to me now?” Well, ok then! 🙂

    I guess your vulgarity is forgiven! I will have to go buy Ninth now…and Dust and Unshattered…I have all the rest. I didn’t think I’d be an arm’s length from the man and due to the girls in front of me being latched to their iPhones with heads down, I got to have the guy look right into my eyes while my boyfriend kept telling me to touch him. This was no concert for cell phones or cameras, at least for me. I wanted to be in the moment and it came. And kept coming.

    But PM saying his daughter gets upset when he acts crudely when she sees it on You Tube stopped both my boyfriend and I from mauling PM since he was so close. A shame, but hey, one of us has to be respectful. No groping! I did want to give the Great Man a bracelet on my hand, but don’t see he wears bracelets (and I tend not to when I play guitar as well) so I had no token of esteem to give during the hand holding, except maybe my shirt, but I am unsure it would fit him. 🙂

    Show was great. Some Bauhaus songs, Marlene Dietrich (one of my favorites) and all the new stuff from Ninth. I haven’t gotten the recording yet, I am waiting for it to come out on record, but live it sounded really good. I think all of us at the Casbah were awed. There wasn’t much dancing, just focusing. I do hope he plays the Casbah in the winter of 2011. The Casbah always ruins me to performers. It’s so cozy and intimate, it makes other venues seem very stale. I really can’t imagine seeing PM in a bright record store or a cluttered place and The Casbah, it is such a great place and has a Turkish theme.

    And the Casbah didn’t take MY GUM!! 🙂 They probably wouldn’t even take my drink if I walked outside with it. San Diego is like that.

  2. I wasn’t going to add this, but since you wrote about the song Hurt, I have my own story about it, which makes me inappropriately laugh when I hear it. The song came out after I had graduated college and I had been planning to move to Europe for a while, just to not be in America anymore and learn more about the world. This guy I knew, a friend of a friend, wrote vampire poetry about me, like he saw me as a vampire, for some reason. I am not sure if it was visual or metaphorical. But it kept going, from ok romantic type poems to purely ridiculous things. I mean, how many times can the vampiric me walk into the sun and still live? Maybe me planning to visit Eastern Europe didn’t help this along…need to get native soil for my crypt.

    The man lived and breathed The Downward Spiral and the song Hurt, which sort of flooded into these poems about me being this vampire and then I ended up a character in a supposed book he wrote and as a character in a role playing game he was doing. Then him playing a woman who would be me. Or I think about cross-dressing male vampires when I think of Hurt and it makes me laugh. From there, it goes into some in jokes that speed up my humor and get me going. It would probably sound morbid if I told them here, since it would be out of context.

    The guy was pretty harmless and I still have the poems. I am glad I grew up in a day where people, even young guys, wrote poetry to women who moved them in some way, even if it came out all bizarre. It must of been small town living. I don’t feel like people write poetry anymore, not as fun, and you can’t write poetry into Facebook, it won’t split it into stanzas.

    I am glad Peter Murphy didn’t play Hurt when he played San Diego, for then I see a cross-dressing vampire in my head and start laughing. And I was in the front, I mean, singing Hurt and hearing joyful laughter would just be messed up! 🙂 It’s a beautiful song, lyrically and musically, so it isn’t the song itself, but what in my life grew up around the song. All these kitschy overdone vampire stereotypes, which I guess is proper for me to write here, since Twilight was brought up in this article.

    I don’t know where that guy is, even in the era of the Internet. I hope he got his book published. Maybe someday I’ll see an image of myself in some comic book at Comic-Con and then find out he’s still alive.

    Oh and it is weird you bring up Hurt being on the radio, because when the boy and I drove up to the Casbah, his iPod, that was randomly playing 10,000 tracks of music, settled on Bauhaus’ Ziggy Stardust cover. Uncanny! 😛

  3. Thanks for the review! I have one correction to make, though, and only because it’s a funny one.

    When the show was stalled as the sound board struggled to figure out what the problem was, and Peter amused the crowd by letting a man touch his breast, it was not a gay man. It was the man that he had passed the microphone to after asking if anyone had questions for him. (The lame question he asked was “Are you having fun,” to which PM replied “NO!”) Then, my very gay friend reached his arm up towards Peter from slightly further back in the crowd. Peter noticed him trying to get his attention as well as his effort to grope him, and said something to the effect of “No, you can’t… you’re a REAL fag, I can see it in your eyes that you want to do naughty things…”

    The crowd laughed, and I responded “You have NO idea!”

    It made my friend’s night to have that little bit of interaction with the Godfather of Goth. We laughed about it all weekend. I hope someone caught it on tape and posted it to YouTube, though I haven’t had the chance to look yet.

    Otherwise, a great show, although a bit light on his older solo material. The covers were great, and I like Ninth well enough, but I was hoping for a few more classics. Glad to have seen him perform the acoustic “Cuts You Up/Bela Lugosi” medley at Amoeba a couple weeks ago.

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