Nov 21, 2023

The Fixx Is In

The Fixx
Keswick Theatre - Glenside, PA
There are a lot of bands from the 80's that still tour in 2023, but this band is one of the very few that are still touring with the same members of the band who took the stage back then.  Cy Curnin (vocals), Jamie West-Oram (guitar), Rupert Greenall (keyboards) and Adam Woods (drums) have each been members of The Fixx since 1980, and Dan K. Brown has played bass in the band since 1983 when they recorded Reach The Beach.

I've listened to The Fixx on the radio since I was a kid, and I became a big fan of theirs five years ago when I found a recording of the KROQ Top 106 Of 1983 that was uploaded to the Internet Archive.  The fifth song in the recording is Red Skies.  I'm not sure if this countdown was the first time that I ever heard it, but it's definitely the moment when I fell in love with the song.  The DJ must have also been a big fan of The Fixx because he played Shuttered Room next, even though that song wasn't officially part of the countdown.  Hearing these two songs back to back in this recording inspired me to dig into their history.  The Fixx has released 11 studio albums over the past 41 years and I can't think of any song that I didn't enjoy.

I'm more torn about my feelings about the venue where The Fixx performed last night.  The Keswick Theatre opened its doors on Christmas 1928.  It's a beautiful and historic building in the suburbs of Philadelphia with free parking and incredible acoustics.  The only other time that I've been here was last September when Kevin Smith hosted a screening of Clerks 3.  They've had a lot of events here that I've been tempted to get tickets to since that screening, but I decided not to because there's one thing about this place that's a dealbreaker, and that is the seating.

I realize that I'm kind of a big guy, but I've been to a lot of different venues (including old and historic ones), and none of them have seats that are as small and uncomfortable as the ones at the Keswick Theatre.  It feels to me like squeezing into a chair that's meant for children in an elementary school auditorium.  If they removed the seats to make this place a standing room only venue like the Sherman Theater in Stroudsburg, I think that this would be one of my favorite places to see a concert, but the seats at the Keswick are so uncomfortable that it overshadows everything else that's great about the place.  Unless they do some major remodeling, this is going to be my last time coming here.

There's a cute little ice cream parlor called The Weldon next door to the theater.  It was too cold out for ice cream, but we stopped here before the show for hot cocoa and pumpkin cupcakes.

The opening act was a man named Kasim Sulton.   He was bassist and vocalist for Utopia, Joan Jett & The Black Hearts, and The New Cars.  He also was the bass guitarist for Scandal from 2004 to 2006 and for Blue Öyster Cult from 2012 to 2017.  He's gone on tour with many other bands and singers and has worked in the studio with many others.  His resume is so long and impressive that it would take pages to list everything he has done.  This guy played bass and sang backup vocals for Meat Loaf in the recording of Bat Out Of Hell and Bat Out Of Hell II for crying out loud!

When I learned about the work he has done before the show, I thought that we were really in for something special, but... well... let's just say that his live solo performance isn't my cup of tea.  I did enjoy his rendition of Drive and Across The Universe, the latter of which began with a sad revelation.

Mars Williams with The Psychedelic Furs (10/28/2018)
Mars Williams with The Psychedelic Furs (10/28/2018)
Mars Williams with The Psychedelic Furs (10/28/2018)
Mars Williams with The Psychedelic Furs (10/28/2018)
Mars Williams with The Psychedelic Furs (7/13/2019)
Mars Williams with The Psychedelic Furs (7/13/2019)

Kasim Sulton dedicated the last song of his set (Across The Universe) to Psychedelic Furs saxophonist Mars Williams who passed away earlier in the day.  He was 68 years old.  I got to see him perform twice with the Furs, and he was absolutely incredible and added to both nights being two of my favorite experiences at a concert.

The Fixx took the stage next and performed an incredible 15 song main set with a 3 song encore that was everything that I hoped it would be.  The set kicked off with The Fool from their 1982 debut album Shuttered Room.  They played two other songs from this album during the set which are two of my favorite songs from the decade: Stand Or Fall, and the song that made me a fan of the band, Red Skies.  They also played both of their big hits from their 1983 album Reach The Beach: One Thing Leads To Another and the show closer, Saved By Zero, and two songs from their 1984 album Phantoms: Are We Ourselves and Less Cities, More Moving People.  They played one other song from 1984 called Deeper And Deeper that the band recorded for the Streets Of Fire soundtrack.  I still haven't watched that film.  We had the opportunity to see it at the Mahoning this past season, but we didn't make it out that night.  I realize that we can't possibly be there for every movie, but I regret missing out on that one.

The band also performed two songs from their 1986 album Walkabout: Built For The Future, and one of my favorite love songs ever recorded, Secret Separation.  They also performed one song each from their 1989 album Calm Animals (Driven Out) and their 1991 album Ink (Shut It Out), and two songs off of their 1997 EP Happy Landings that were included on their 1998 album ElementalHappy Landings and Two Different Views.  The other four songs that they played were ones that I was less familiar with, but they fit perfectly with the rest of the set, including Just Before Dawn and Something Ahead Of You from their 2012 album Beautiful Friction, as well as Closer and Wake Up from their 2022 album Every Five Seconds.

It was an incredible show and I feel very thankful for having had the opportunity to see The Fixx live in concert.

Here are the setlists for both Kasim Sulton and The Fixx from last night's show.