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Don’t Forget the Songs-365: Mach Tres: Day 135
Thurs. June 13, 2013

“Ocean Rain (Live Liverpool)”
Echo and the Bunnymen

2002

“♫ All
at sea
again
♫”

With my birthday on Friday, I realized having been originally born in the state of the Great Lakes, and having moved from New Orleans to Chicago and now Los Angeles, I have only been comfortably creatively living in cities near large bodies of water. If you’ve been following our Don’t Forget The Songs 365 posts recently, you may have noticed I’ve been alternating between showcasing songs from Brian Wilson and Ian McCulloch. Being born in Los Angeles and Liverpool respectively, it’s no coincidence that I picked two artists who have famously crafted songs with life aquatic themes.
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Echo and the Bunnymen’s Ian McCulloch talked about being inspired by water when he said in Chris Adams’ Turquoise Days: The Weird World of Echo and the Bunnymen, “Why so many aquatic references? Well, all the nice girls love a sailor, as the saying goes—though I’m no sailor. I used to love taking the ferry to Europe instead of flying. I find that whenever I’m near water, it’s just, I suppose, calming.” Sad to admit, I was always more a “Killing Moon” fan and didn’t truly appreciate the timeless wonder of the title track to Echo’s 1984 classic album Ocean Rain until I saw The Bunnymen live at Chicago’s Metro in 2006.

I’ll always remember that night, it was winter and because of a snowstorm my Redline train was late and I missed a good part of the show. I actually walked in towards the end of their set when Ian was singing the last parts of “Lips Like Sugar.” Hoping that I didn’t miss “The Killing Moon,” I already did, they had just finished playing my choice song as I was on the train, and Echo closed their show with a magnificently breathtaking version of “Ocean Rain.” I recall witnessing the calming beauty of this brilliant track coming alive in front of me, seeing Will play those decadently intricate chords and as Ian sang those powerfully eloquent lyrics, “Ocean Rain” instantly became my favorite Echo song.
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I’ll never forget that night, in fact thanks to Echo and the Bunnymen’s Live in Liverpool I don’t have to. All I have to do is play the last cut from this show and it brings back one the best performances by a band I have ever seen in my life. The best version of “Ocean Rain” ever captured on tape is from this Liverpool show. It’s no coincidence that Ian McCulloch called “Ocean Rain,” “The greatest song we ever wrote. If there’s one song I want to die singing, it’s [“Ocean Rain”].” On the eve of my forty-first birthday, join me in reliving one of the most magical live musical moments I have ever witnessed in my life. A performance so good by The Bunnymen after finishing playing the title cut from their triumphant 1984 classic album, “Ocean Rain” instantly became my favorite Ian McCulloch song. Don’t be afraid of the water and relive the glory of “Ocean Rain (live in Liverpool)” today.

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