Review and photos by Laura Patterson
The O2 Academy in Sheffield provided an intimate setting for the return of Then Jerico. The gig was one of a series of eight shows by the band at O2 Academy venues across the country, to mark the 25th anniversary and digital re-release of their debut album ‘First (The Sound of Music)’. All of the original band members have reunited for the first time since 1990 for this tour.
A local artist chosen to open on this date of the tour, Sheffield singer-songwriter Ian Britt entertained the crowd with his great voice and quirky acoustic songs. Along with an unexpected cover of Michael Jackson’s ‘The Way You Make Me Feel’, Britt kept the majority of the crowd attentive for his enjoyable set. An interesting act, you can check him out here.
Despite never having achieved the level of commercial success which some of their arguably less-talented ‘80s counterparts did, Then Jerico have maintained a strong and loyal fan base and the small venue was packed by the time they took to the stage. As they came on to rapturous applause, it was as if the clock had suddenly been wound back 25 years to when I first saw them play live. They may all have looked a little older (but so did we!) but the same energy and excitement was there.
The show was split into two parts, with the first half featuring six tracks from First (The Sound of Music), including the classic early tracks ‘Let Her Fall’, ‘Blessed Days’ and ‘Prairie Rose’. A favourite of most of the evening’s crowd, hearing these tracks live again, after all this time, was particularly special.
Lead singer Mark Shaw remains a charismatic showman and most of the interaction with the crowd – with few signs of the throat infection he was suffering from – was left to him. In engaging with the fans, he seemed thrilled to be back performing again in front of such an enthusiastic audience, spending much of the show balanced on the barrier, getting up close to the fans (which I rather enjoyed from my spot on the front row). With the whole band on top form and enjoying themselves as much as the audience were, you’d never have known they had only had a few weeks together to rehearse for the tour.
For the second part of the show, Then Jerico played the whole of The Big Area, launching with an enthusiastic rendition of ‘Helpless’. Succumbing to crowd demand, they even played the superb ‘Sugar Box’ twice. Closing the second part of the show with a fantastic performance of their biggest hit, ‘Big Area’, the whole crowd singing along, the night ended on a high, with an encore of ‘Darkest Hour’ and ‘Reeling’.
Clearly a band delighted to be back, Then Jerico’s reunion tour continues to gain momentum and it’d be great to see them back on the road again soon and to hear some new material.
Visit Then Jerico’s website here
Set List: Let Her Fall, Blessed Days, Muscle Deep, The Hitcher, The Motive, Prairie Rose, Helpless, You Ought to Know, What Does it Take, Song for the Broken Hearted, Where You Lie, Sugar Box, Sugar Box again (due to popular demand!), Under Fire, Big Area, Darkest Hour, Reeling.
And you can see Laura’s shots from the show here: