One could have just as well imagined that the former could have been released in 1985 when the band started and "Who Needs Love..." this year.
Bell clearly was center stage in more ways than one. Except for a brief stint on the stage during the encore of "A Little Respect," Clarke was literally above the fray, playing his keyboards and programming sequencers plus a little bit of guitar (it could not be heard all that much either) above a framed neon staging behind Bell. To say that Clarke, decked out in a suit and tie, avoided the spotlight - figuratively and literally - was not an understatement. He seemed more like a hired hand than one-half of the band.
There was a larege chunk of pre-recorded material as at times, the thumping musical lines were full blown with Clarke simply standing there, putting all the more emphasis on Bell, who, in effect, was singing to backing tracks.
He's probably sung a bit better as he told the crowd early on that he had a cold, but would give it his best. He soldiered on and showed few ill effects, getting stronger as the evening wore on. Bell also turned in a few good dance moves along with his two backing female singers.
Whether pre-recorded or not, the music had an undeniable engaging quality to it. Sometimes in overdrive with a disco-ey beat, sometimes more of a mid-tempo (with a decided proclivity for the former), the emphasis seemed to be on keeping the music moving and the body shaking.
That didn't prove to be much of a problem from the one-two punch at the outset of the ultra catchy " Oh L'Amour" and "Ship of Fools." There wasn't much of a break in the rhythms to say the least from start to finish.
Bell and Clarke clearly have learned a thing or two about what makes Erasure tick. Whether old or new, it seems like a good dance pop song...is a good dance pop song.