29 February 2020 (gig)
01 March 2020
Editors proved themselves as one of the most essential live bands, even if they only managed to fill half of Wembley Arena.
After six albums over 15 years, last year’s Black Gold compilation was a reflection of the band’s history, and the springboard for this greatest hits tour.
Whilst the past is always relevant, how can a band with a mid-00s heyday feel part of the zeitgeist in the 2020s?
Launching the set with two songs lyrically perfect for the age of Coronavirus, of course: ‘More and more people I know are getting ill’ Tom Smith sings in An End Has A Start, before the Bullets’ refrain of ‘You don’t need this disease’.
It starts a two-hour journey which criss-crosses the story of Editors from beginning to end. It’s not a show with fancy visuals, just a solid lighting rig which suits the band down to the ground and keeps the focus on the songs and the members of the band.
All standout performers, significant praise must be offered to Ed Lay, the drummer who never gives up, and fills almost every song of the 24-track setlist with the kind of energy of someone twenty years younger.
The limelight stays largely on Tom though, a fantastic frontman who still has little to say. Sometimes, you hear more about the things performers say between songs than you do about the actual songs, but there’s no threat of this with Mr Smith.
When he takes up centre stage for a solo version of No Sound But The Wind, it feels like he could be doing this on his own if he wanted, but the momentum of the band is crucial to Editors’ live sound.
With much history to contend with, the new songs on Black Gold could be an afterthought, but Upside Down’s chorus will stick with you all night, whilst the band, bathed in green light, prove Frankenstein’s anthem-like status on its first London performance.
Editors have eschewed a typical classic album tour, despite this year marking the 15thanniversary of The Back Room. A run of four 2005 releases at the end of the main set, ending with the b-side You Are Fading, showed freshness in taking things out of order.
Then the four-song encore packs four early-era Editors tracks into a tight 15 minutes, rounding off with the big duo of Munich and Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors before disappearing into London’s beautiful evening.
Editors don’t do anything special, but everything on stage is done well – and sometimes, that is just what you need.