When Television formed in New York City, back in the early 1970’s, I doubt that they’d ever heard of Bexhill, yet alone imagined that the seaside town would turn up on a tour schedule over 40 years later.
But I’m sure the decent sized crowd of the bands fans were very pleased that they’d found their way to the East Sussex coast after all this time.
Featuring three quarters of Television’s classic line up, this 90 minute performance was pretty much a greatest hits show, which is probably exactly what the audience wanted to see and hear.
A more knowledgeable friend told me that only three songs in the set list didn’t come from the band’s classic debut album ‘Marquee Moon’, from which they played nearly every track.
One of those was a very early song from back in the Richard Hell era of the band, a real treat.
Starting with ‘Prove It’ and ‘Torn Curtain’ Television quickly got into their stride, showing off the interplay between the guitars of Tom Verlaine and Jimmy Ripp to great effect. It was pretty much a masterclass. I should imagine that any guitarists in the venue were already drooling by this point.
Fans of the band already knew the reputation of founder member Tom Verlaine, but second guitarist Jimmy Ripp was a revelation, almost upstaging the front man on occasions.
There was a nice ebb and flow to the gig, power where it was needed, but also a whole dose of subtlety as well. A tight, well knit and very together band certainly helped with that.
The focus was always on the band and the songs, there was no need for anything other than the understated light show on display.
All songs were faithfully reproduced, something that doesn’t always happen when seeing a classic band, but is usually exactly what the audience wants. So I don’t think there were any complaints tonight, in any department.
For a band who are quite rightly held in very high regard by followers and fans of the Punk and New Wave movement and its music, this performance almost fell into the realms of Prog Rock at times.
This was most evident during an epic track (‘Persia’?) in the middle of the performance, which sounded at times almost like a structured jam, with elements of Jazz within it. It certainly helped to showcase the musical ability of the band.
The main set ended, rather predictably I suppose, with ‘Marquee Moon’ itself and I have to say that this was a tremendous and very powerful version of the song, which you could really feel building to a climax.
That would have been worth the price of admission alone in my opinion.
I didn’t think I’d ever to get to see ‘Marquee Moon’ performed live and certainly not played as well as that, and in Bexhill too! I doubt I was alone in that regard.
Apparently Television had an appointment with an airport, so there was only time for an encore of ‘Friction, which sent everyone away very happy, including the band who seemed to have enjoyed themselves, which is always good to see.
Thanks, once again, to the De La Warr for having the faith to put on such a band. This was only one of a handful of gigs by the band in the UK, which made it all the more special.
Who needs a TV, when you have Television?