Julian Cope: Epstein Theatre, Liverpool

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Julian Cope performing at the Epstein Theatre, Liverpool

Pulling up in a camouflage Land Rover, Julian Cope runs through his impressive back catalogue while Getintothis’ Paul Fitzgerald endures the audience chatterboxes at The Epstein.

Nostalgia.

It’s not what it used to be, eh?

And while former Teardrop Explodes man Julian Cope was winging his way back to his familiar old stomping ground in his camouflage Land Rover this afternoon, there were a good few hundred post-punk-pre-pension-passionate friends looking forward to reliving their barely remembered youth in his company. He wasn’t the only one on a trip. Some of us were reliving several.

And so, as Copey arrived on stage, triumphant before the triumph, looking like Liverpool’s very own psychedelic Colonel Kurtz had shed his turtle shell one more time to come down from the mountain and stare into the whites of our eyes. He did so by declaring his comfort with his idea of reunion culture. After all, as he put it “if Kate Bush can get back together, so can I”.

From the very first song, 1981’s The Culture Bunker from the Teardrops album Wilder, the strength and power in that perfect pop voice was as evident as it was impressive. Unfortunately, he needed that powerful voice to overcome the chatter from the all the ‘fans’ who came along to chat loudly amongst themselves throughout the show. There was a song with some heavy expletive use in the title. We like to think it was dedicated to them.

As he took us on this trip (ahem) through his vast catalogue, he peppered the show with stories of his many varied lives – pop star, rock god, author, antiquarian, acid casualty – all of which he is rightly proud of. Hilarious episode followed fantastic tune, followed hilarious episode. A kaleidoscope of pure entertainment, delivered with an easy charm, and a wicked charisma.

And tunes.  Man, there were tunes; Sun Spots, The Greatness and Perfection Of Love, Psychedelic  Revolution, Pristeen and Double Vegetation and a catchy little blues ditty based on his extensive antiquarian research, entitled They Were All On Hard Drugs.

Cope once gave up drinking for 21 years, until some Armenians made him drink homemade Mulberry Vodka.  We feel his pain. We gave it up for 21 days, once. It was hell.

Unlike us, Julian’s putting together an album of drinking songs. He introduced us to the theory that when early humans came up with the idea of cereal crops, it was just as likely to be so they could make beer as it was bread. Clever humans.

As he finished with the sublime and magnificent Treason, this writer was fixed with the rictus grin of the 15 year old who once asked him for his autograph in 1982. He didn’t have anything to sign, so asked the lad what he had, which turned out to be a 7 inch of Echo and the The Bunnymen’s Back Of Love.  He signed it with one word: Mac.

Photos by Getintothis’ Keith Ainsworth:

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