The English Beat put on a relaxed, superb show that sent my mind floating through time. This has happened before, often at jazz venues. It may have something to do with the sound of a saxophone, in part. The English Beat has a very cool sax signature. I don't know how they do it -- reverb?
Anyway, in my mind I was seeing the band in the 1980s, and General Public, remembering the theme music to The Avengers (the Diana Rigg series from the 1960s) blasting just before one of these incarnations came out on stage, back in North Carolina. Also, Doppelgängers abounded throughout the night. Gabby Giffords was dancing with Kurtwood Smith (the dad in That '70s Show). There was an Amy Spade. A Frank Freeman. A Stephen Wallem (Thor in Nurse Jackie), A Jerry Bjelopera. A David J. Thompson. There was a Bryan Cranston (main guy in Breaking Bad). And an Erin Burnett (the mean-eyed CNN journalist). Even a Milton (Stephen Root) from Office Space. And hey, all I had was a little Shiner Bock from the Spoetzl Brewery. Besides The Avengers theme, I remembered Jane's Addiction opening for Iggy Pop back in the 1980s. I got into the free flow of time-space-memory. Something about The White Stripes, too.
As for the set list, here's my first crack at it. Hopefully I won't miss much here.
The English Beat, Granada Theater, Dallas, Texas, January 19, 2013:
They played, bantered and toasted for about 90 minutes, starting at approximately 9:45 p.m. Dave Wakeling: "Happy Summer in January!"
Tears of a Clown
Twist and Crawl
I'll Take You There
Save It for Later
Hands Off, She's Mine
Whine & Grine
Stand Down, Margaret
Can't Get Used to Losing You
Mirror in the Bathroom
I can't fully reconstruct the banter and toasting, etc., but Wakeling and his sidekick Antonee First Class were excellent with the audience. "Two-Tone Tonee and Whistling Wakeling at your service!" Snippets about song-writing and inspiration, often fueled by ten to twelve pints of Guinness "back then." Wakeling's voice is distinctive, gravelly and deep when he speaks, like the actors Oliver Reed and Ian McShane (Swearengen on Deadwood). He ended the night with a coda: "On a beautiful summer's day in January . . ."
Today's Rune: The Mystery Rune. Note: photos taken a couple of hours before showtime, which was well-attended. I didn't go into the Granada until about ten minutes before The English Beat began, missing the opening acts.