You know a band has made it when following the release of six LP’s and a greatest hits album they can embark upon a series of arena dates. Like their debut album The Back Room, the Editors were adorned in mostly black and grey (not gold!) and throughout the set the absence of colour and light in the five pieces’ attire was overly compensated from the epileptic triggering strobe lighting.
The start of Editors set started with, the start (aka the first two LP’s). “An End Has A Start”, the title track from their second LP opened the set. This well-known anthem kick-started an already excited Wembley Arena thanks to Joy Division and Murder Capital inspired Whispering Sons with their anxiety fuelled energetic anthems. “An End Has A Start” lyrics “You came on your own, that’s how you’ll leave with hope in your hands and air to breathe” were sung back to Tom Smith and Co with halcyon passion. “Bullets'” followed and despite the similarly dark, or to say the least non-jovial content of the lyrics “If something has to give then it always will. You don’t need this disease, not right now”; Wembley Arena again seemed to be at its happiest singing them back. “Bones” and “Escape the Nest” then followed.
Much of the set from this point forward focused on material from In This Light and on This Evening onwards. The increased emphasis on synths and technology and across some tracks the demoted role of the dark Interpol style guitars takes a back seat as does Smith’s distinguished baritone vocal style. Despite the calibre of the Editors first, two albums innovation was always inevitable and it was “Papillion” live which got the greatest applause most deftly bridges the gap from tradition Editors to new experimental Editors.
Some songs like “Ocean of Night” and “Black Gold” despite the shift in direction lacked the hungry year’s gusto and came across as the more MOR material bands like Kodaline and The Script have dropped. Other songs despite Smith’s improved energetic and flighty movements on stage produced a sound that sounded like a retreat too far from their indie guitar-based foundations. For instance “Frankenstein” was more appropriate for Ministry of Sound and Fabric as opposed to a live music venue or arena. Nonetheless songs like “A Ton of Love” with a rich guitar-based sound like an up-tempo version of Bowie’s “Heroes’s” offset songs like “Ocean of Night” and “Black Gold”.
True to Editors word the Birmingham five-piece proved that an end dies have a start by playing much more of their early material at the end of the set. The grimness of the lyrics returned with it but Wembley reached a new crescendo as “All Sparks” was played and the lyrics “Well be careful angel. This life is just too long. All sparks will burn out in the end” induced serotonin happiness. “Blood”, “Fingers in the Factory” and “You Are Fading” were all played before the encore when blackness engulfed the stage. Some of the best songs were left for last including “The Racing Rats”, “Munich” and standout single from An End Has a Start “Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors” where Editors fans who don’t have a pre-disposition to gloominess sung every word merrily and passionately including the words “Say goodbye to everyone. You have ever known. You are not gonna see them ever again”. As far as the fans were concerned Editors couldn’t have picked a better song to playout Wembley with.
Whilst the occasional song from their more current tracklist heading out in a new direction did not always stay true to the Editors origins live; the need for constant innovation and experimentation is essential. Innovation has in many respects paid off; “Papillion” is a testament to this. The early material that brought acclaim would still not have the present awe if innovation hadn’t taken place. Editors have evolved lyrically drawing upon a wider and happier range of emotions than their earlier material but it’s the darker lyrics from the early days that seem to elate fans the most.