Friday, April 5, 2019

Bela Lugosi's dead and so are Orlando's hopes of seeing goth legend Peter Murphy

Posted By on Fri, Apr 5, 2019 at 3:25 PM

click to enlarge The makeshift Bauhaus 40th anniversary show at the Plaza Live - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • The makeshift Bauhaus 40th anniversary show at the Plaza Live
THIS LITTLE UNDERGROUND
Bauhaus 40th anniversary, Plaza Live, April 4

Peter Murphy is seriously fucking with Orlando. “Utterly shocking” and “statistically unimaginable” are not words I was prepared to use for this Bauhaus 40th anniversary show but the Godfather of Goth has stood us up again.

click to enlarge The makeshift Bauhaus 40th anniversary show at the Plaza Live - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • The makeshift Bauhaus 40th anniversary show at the Plaza Live
The last time back in February was already unbelievable when the plug was pulled mid-show after the two openers had completed their duties. This time, what was unlikely, unthinkable even, became surreally actual when announcement was made yet again that Peter Murphy – who at this point is either without constitution or conscience – was again bailing after Austin opener Sine had already played.

click to enlarge Sine at the Plaza Live - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Sine at the Plaza Live
The fateful proclamation that drew silent open mouths back in February was met, rightfully, with a wave of immediate jeers this time. Were this demographic any less goth or old, there would’ve been a riot. Unlike last time, no reason was proffered, but here's the statement from Murphy’s publicist:

It is with great regret that the decision was made that Peter Murphy would not be able to preform last night at the 11th hour as he is suffering for severe physical and mental exhaustion. Peter had begun to feel unwell after the triumphant San Francisco Regency Ballroom performance. He pushed himself through for Santa Ana, CA (the 93rd show since October) but unfortunately faltered for the last night in Orlando.

We would like to express our deepest regrets that Orlando was thwarted by illness yet again. We extend our sincere gratitude to David J, MGT Thwaite, Marc Slutsky, all at the venue and crew as well as Rona Rougeheart and Curse Mackey for pulling together to provide a unique and heartfelt show for the audience. We know it was not the one you hoped for but we hope you enjoyed it. It was for you, Orlando.

Thank you to everyone all over the world who attended the 40 years of Bauhaus Celebration.

This has officially become straight-up life comedy.



click to enlarge The makeshift Bauhaus 40th anniversary show at the Plaza Live - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • The makeshift Bauhaus 40th anniversary show at the Plaza Live
But even though full refunds were already promised, original Bauhaus bandmate David J – himself showing equal disbelief and at least some human decency – decided to attempt to soldier on without the iconic frontman just to give us something, anything. It was a brave gesture given the impossible circumstances, exponentially so given the recent history here.

click to enlarge The makeshift Bauhaus 40th anniversary show at the Plaza Live - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • The makeshift Bauhaus 40th anniversary show at the Plaza Live
So he and the band formed a ragtag crew with opener Sine and her guest vocalist Curse Mackey (with whom, incidentally, I judged a band battle at House of Blues a few years back) to rally and play a grab bag of Bauhaus songs, at least in some impromptu form. They made for a full, if not quite together, band. And their performance can only be described as incomplete, or what David J characterized as “improvise, deconstruct and dub.”

click to enlarge Makeshift Bauhaus 40th anniversary show at the Plaza Live - MICHAEL LOTHROP
  • Michael Lothrop
  • Makeshift Bauhaus 40th anniversary show at the Plaza Live
One upside was that, since the planned program of playing debut album In the Flat Field went out the window, the set list ended up a more cherry-picked tour through the Bauhaus catalog. And Mackey, no doubt acting out every goth’s childhood fantasy, actually did a decent vocal job, emerging as an unlikely hero in Murphy’s tall stead.

click to enlarge Curse Mackey and Sine at the Plaza Live - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Curse Mackey and Sine at the Plaza Live
click to enlarge Makeshift Bauhaus 40th anniversary show at the Plaza Live - BAO LE-HUU
  • Bao Le-Huu
  • Makeshift Bauhaus 40th anniversary show at the Plaza Live
click to enlarge Makeshift Bauhaus 40th anniversary show at the Plaza Live - MICHAEL LOTHROP
  • Michael Lothrop
  • Makeshift Bauhaus 40th anniversary show at the Plaza Live
click to enlarge Makeshift Bauhaus 40th anniversary show at the Plaza Live - MICHAEL LOTHROP
  • Michael Lothrop
  • Makeshift Bauhaus 40th anniversary show at the Plaza Live
At some point, this became less about quality of performance than sheer pluck. On that count, maximum respect. A guy like David J – to be clear, a legend in his own right – didn’t need to put himself out there like that because of someone else’s shortcoming. But he did. And though they only mustered about a half-hour set, a good crowd stuck around to see where it would go and ultimately commanded an encore with chants of “David, David, David!”


However, one telling thing David J did let slip was that they only knew about this a couple hours ago, which is not exactly just now. And that begs some huge questions. So let the theories swirl.

click to enlarge The makeshift Bauhaus 40th anniversary show at the Plaza Live - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • The makeshift Bauhaus 40th anniversary show at the Plaza Live
But what was absolutely clear was his other comment that this was probably one of the most bizarre concert situations of all time for both him and us. So some history was made this night after all, however backhanded.

click to enlarge Makeshift Bauhaus 40th anniversary show at the Plaza Live - BAO LE-HUU
  • Bao Le-Huu
  • Makeshift Bauhaus 40th anniversary show at the Plaza Live
As poorly as this repeat debacle reflects on Murphy, it basically guarantees sainthood for David J. At least he was in the shit with us and handled it with valor, humility and honor. So next time the Murph comes to town? Whatever. But David J should come back through on his own. He did his damnedest to do right by us and I think Orlando owes him a personal sellout reception.

click to enlarge Makeshift Bauhaus 40th anniversary show at the Plaza Live - BAO LE-HUU
  • Bao Le-Huu
  • Makeshift Bauhaus 40th anniversary show at the Plaza Live
Follow Bao on Twitter (@baolehuu)
Email Bao: baolehuu@orlandoweekly.com


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