In a perfect world, Peter Murphy would have performed at a much larger NYC venue. He would have played multiple sold-out shows at a residency at the Bowery Ballroom, or perhaps Irving Plaza. His name alone should spread excitement throughout the entire NYC music community. From his days in the legendary Bauhaus to his latest solo works, his unique voice and unparalleled talent should put him in the same realm as David Bowie, or at least Robert Smith. Yet here we are in 2005, where his devout fans must trek to BB Kings in order to see their gothic legend. Those fans were given a musical experience that they will never forget.
From the moment Peter Murphy appeared on stage, his legions of followers were fixated on every word, every gesture, and every note that he unleashed. After over two decades of making music, one thing became blatantly clear: his golden pipes have never sounded better. The power and range of his voice is astonishing. He opened with “Gliding Like A Whale”, which proved without a doubt that he still rules. His theatrics during “Deep Ocean Vast Sea”came to a peak when he recreated his pose that appears on the cover of his album Deep. At this point the entire crowd was eating out of his hands. My personal highlight from Murphy’s set was “I’ll Fall With Your Knife”, which is from his Cascade album.
As so many rock icons age, they lose their spark. Their looks fade, their voices loose their edge, their live performances begin to weaken, as does their songwriting. In Mr. Murphy’s case, he has only gotten better with age. His voice is top notch, hitting notes that seem to shake the walls. His fans know the words to every song, both old and new. He commands a stage with ease. Peter Murphy is a superstar trapped in a cult star’s body, but perhaps music this amazing is just too smart for the mainstream.
Modern rock would have never developed without Mr. Murphy’s days of fronting Bauhaus. Do yourself a favor and go experience his solo efforts as he continues to support his latest album Unshattered.