Eels at The Olympia Theatre – Review & Photos
There are some gigs that just have an intangible, magical quality from the moment the band strikes the first note. This gig from Eels was one of those shows, with Mark Oliver Everett, better known by the shortened moniker E, in cracking form from the moment he kicked things off with a plaintive version of When You Wish Upon A Star.
It wasn’t the last quirky cover that would pop up during the evening as E took the crowd on a journey through his extensive back catalogue, ably backed by the current incarnation of Eels; P-Boo on trumpet, Knuckles on percussion, Al on double bass and The Chet on guitar, who was the subject of much adoration from certain members of the crowd.
Early on E warned the all seated crowd that they were in for some “uneasy listening” and the first half of the show was dominated by some more sombre tunes such as The Morning, Parallels and Mansions of Los Feliz, that contrasted sharply with E’s jocular stage manner. This particular portion of the set culminated with what E described as a “next level bummer”, a beautiful rendition of It’s A Motherfucker that featured some sparse piano and gentle orchestration from the rest of the band.
This song seemed to especially affect E and he paused and rubbed his eyes at the conclusion before deciding that he’d had enough of the sad stuff and declaring to the rest of the band, “I wanna have some fun fellas.” This led to a jaunty version of A Daisy Through The Concrete that featured trumpet and guitar trading solos to huge cheers from the crowd.
The fun kept coming with a hilarious interlude to introduce the band followed by a stonking 50’s rock ‘n’ roll version of I Like Birds and a sped up version of My Beloved Monster, complete with tripped out solos that went down a treat with a crowd, who would soon get up close with E as he left the stage and wandered through the room doling out hugs after a rousing rendition of Mistakes of My Youth.
After the extended hug-break, E returned to the stage and decided to “skip the whole encore charade and just play some more.” So play some more they did, with I Like The Way This Is Going, Blinking Lights (For You) and Last Stop: This Town before leaving the stage and indulging in the whole encore charade not once, but twice. These encores featured some more quirky covers, harking back to the opening of the show. A beautiful version of Can’t Help Falling In Love With You featured first before a bizarre but utterly brilliant version of Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing ended matters on a high and brought the crowd to their feet for the last of what had been several standing ovations.
E clearly loves playing The Olympia and The Olympia clearly loves him. For a band that are renowned for a lot of their more downbeat material, this was a joyous experience.
Review by Mark O’Brien
Photos by Tudor Marian