REVIEW: Pharcyde O2 Academy 7/10
I AM not – nor have I ever been – a fan of comeback tours. My natural inclination is that if a band is returning after years in the wilderness with no new material there is only one good reason – the money. So you can imagine my displeasure when a new generation of comeback gigs emerged where groups which have already milked dry the come-back cash cow returned again to recreate a single album on stage.
However, as unimpressed with the idea as I may be, I am the kind of person who turns up to the gig, hoping still for some of the old magic.
Fortunately my prayers were answered at the O2 Academy on Wednesday where hundreds turned out to see The Pharcyde produce a show with a little more than old magic.
It has been just over 20 years since the release of the Los Angeles Hip Hop legends' first album Bizarre Ride II. Reproduced on stage to a full house it felt like yesterday. The group have a notoriously difficult history, shedding members through disagreements and drug abuse. After their first two successful albums their demise was steady and well documented. Later attempts to reignite their talents failed to take off. But their original work was immortalised and continues to be played years on.
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From the off the group of four 40-somethings were brimming with energy, bounding around like it was 1992. Their routine and timing were what you would expect from experienced artists. The set was short but packed in the entire Bizarre Ride II album and some extras. Classics like Passin' Me By energised the crowd while punters were picked at random to join the group on stage for Otha Fish. Bonus tracks like the unforgettable Runnin' were thrown into a medley at the end before the group finished by posing for their own picture with their fans in the background. But underneath it all, it was still plain to see four ageing men holding onto something which has all but slipped away from them. Without anything genuinely new to perform it was clear they were stepping to old routines, however well they did it.
When the gig finished thoughts turned to whether the kind of enthusiasm seen on stage can be faked just for money. I immediately remembered overhearing someone say the Pharcyde had asked for tea and biscuits as their ride. Need I say more?