Editors finally returned to NYC....
Editors : Live

Editors : Live

Way back near the start of this century/millennium, when Interpol was channeling Joy Division era New Wave (whether they admit that or not), a similar movement was burgeoning in England itself, thanks to Birmingham’s Editors. First two full-lengths The Back Room & An End Has a Start (QRO review) brought their powerful, epic nature in full. Unfortunately, the band got a bit too big for their britches, and away from what made them great, with In This Light and On This Evening (QRO review) & The Weight of Your Love (QRO review), before returning to form with In Dream (QRO review). This year’s Violence (QRO review) is indeed their strongest in a long time, and the band brought it all when they returned to New York, playing Irving Plaza (QRO venue review) on Tuesday, May 15th.

Finally returned, as it had been many years since Editors played New York/visited America. Singer Tom Smith apologized early on for it being so long, later adding during the encore return, “You blink, and the better part of a decade is gone.” In today’s music industry, disappearing is akin to dying, as only pre-internet bands can do the reunion dance; for twenty-first century acts, one has to stay in the mix to stay in at all. There are a lot of bands who came up around the same time as the Editors that aren’t around any more, but the group is fortunate to have a loyal core audience. Perhaps worries over being gone so long meant that they didn’t play the double-balcony Terminal 5 (QRO venue review) like before (QRO photos of Editors at Terminal 5), but this brought a packed Irving Plaza.


Touring behind Violence, the set list naturally favored the new record at about a third of the total, with two-to-three songs from each of the prior. But it was well chosen and well spaced – one could understand the band not playing the record’s post-apocalyptic “No Sound But the Wind” (an earlier version of which was on a Twilight soundtrack – QRO review – but owes more to Cormac McCarthy’s The Road), and picking ‘the hits’ from earlier albums. Violence dominated the start, such as opener “Hallelujah (So Low)” and the clap-along to the title track, and in the encore return, particularly the hard-hitting “Magazine”.

Editors playing “Blood” live at Irving Plaza in New York, NY on May 15th, 2018:

One interesting aspect of the show was that Editors put their oldest hits back-to-back-to-back, with Back Room’s “Blood” and “Munich”, maybe their best-known songs, followed by “An End Has a Start”. Other artists might space out their ‘golden oldies’, save one to end the show with, or least to go into the encore break, but all three were smack dab in the middle. But the trio fit very well together, the energy and power of one leading directly into the next. Spaced out, they would also overshadow whatever more recent piece came next, giving the evening an unfortunate stop-start nature. And saving until the end would drag things out.

Editors playing “Munich” live at Irving Plaza in New York, NY on May 15th, 2018:

Instead, right after those came “In This Light and on This Evening”, with Smith taking up keyboards. The 2009 album of the same name was derided for being too synth-heavy (of course, now everyone’s got synthesizers), but live, its pieces were given more balance. Not just “In This Light” but particularly single “Papillion” in the encore return. Further unusually, both going into the encore break and closing the night were songs from In Dream, “Ocean of Night” and “Marching Orders”, respectively. More common is the most-recent-but-one album getting the shaft, but perhaps this was making up a bit for Americans not getting In Dream live back then.

Editors playing “Sugar” live at Irving Plaza in New York, NY on May 15th, 2018:

Tom SmithSpecial note must also be made of Tom Smith’s stage presence. Excited and bounding around the stage with a certain English angular nature, he actually reminded of Coldplay’s Chris Martin – without that watered-down Bono’s conscious unbearableness. It’s not surprising to see a frontman engaged up on stage, but Smith’s moves still made him stand out.

Who knows when Editors will next hit New York City, but hopefully it won’t take the better part of a decade.

Editors playing “Marching Orders” live at Irving Plaza in New York, NY on May 15th, 2018:

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