ECHO AND THE BUNNYMEN ROCK LIVERPOOL ON BBC 2’S ‘POP CARNIVAL,’ 1982.
In the summer of 1982, Echo and the Bunnymen were the top act (at least in retrospect, if not at the time) to play the Larks in the Park festival at Sefton Park in Liverpool. The three-day fest, at which admission was free, also featured Frankie Goes To Hollywood (three months before the release of “Relax”) as well as Bow Wow Wow, which was probably the most conventionally famous act on the bill at that moment. One of the cool things about the Larks in the Park festival, as we shall see, was the proximity of a large-ish lake. Spectators were invited to gather in front of the “ornate Victorian bandstand” or lie down in the grass or even splash around in the lake. This was the third year of the festival; Delado, Crossection, and Hambi and the Dance also played that year, according to this contemporaneous account from NME.
1982 was the year Echo and the Bunnymen didn’t release any LPs—Heaven Up Here had come out in May 1981, and fans would have to wait until February 1983 for the third album, Porcupine. The Larks in the Park festival was in late August, and two days earlier, the band had played the Peppermint Lounge in New York, their second visit to the U.S. After this they took a break from touring, their next show was in December.
Pop Carnival was an intriguing show that ran on BBC 2 for a couple of years from 1982 to 1984, highlighting “open-air pop concerts” by acts like Clint Eastwood and General Saint (a reggae DJ duo), JoBoxers, Nick Heyward, Tears for Fears, and Big Country. The host of the show was Steve Blacknell.
According to setlist.fm, Echo and the Bunnymen played a full set that night, but the BBC elected to show only the second half. The full setlist looks like this:
With a Hip
Show of Strength
All That Jazz
No Dark Things
All My Colours (Zimbo)
The Back of Love
Heads Will Roll
Heaven Up Here
Over the Wall
Do It Clean
Remarkably, Pop Carnival picks up the action in medias res, halfway through “Rescue.” The sound and image quality are both excellent. In the second half of the show you can see a handful of revelers cavorting in the lake—which activity sounds completely awesome. The telecast ran on October 12, 1982.