June 30, 2022 China Crisis Bring 40 Year Celebration To Daryl’s House Pawling, NY 6-29-22
A lot of events unfolded throughout the year of 1982. The British overcame Argentina in Falklands war, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial sparked the imagination of all ages in theaters, and the British New Wave music scene was in full swing. The latter of these bulletin points in history, the British New Wave music scene, was popping with talent that dominated UK charts; this included Dexy’s Midnight Runners, Culture Club, Tears For Fears, Duran Duran, Human League, and Haircut One Hundred. Acts that would continue to find success throughout the decade, other budding stars who also started to turn heads included the Liverpool scene’s own China Crisis.
China Crisis, lead by the singing songwriting duo of Gary Daly and Eddie Lundon, were unique to other bands on the scene at the time. Less Rock-n-Roll driven, but more soulful, romantic, and R&B influenced with a saturation of synthesizers, some might say they were more comparable to a Spandau Ballet or The Style Council. However, even that is a stretch, because they truly were a separate entity all their own. First debuting in 1982 with the album Difficult Shapes & Passive Rhythms, Some People Think It’s Fun to Entertain, they would get their first taste of chart success shortly thereafter. Now 40 years since that time, along the way, China Crisis attained five Top 40 singles and three Top 40 albums. Very proud accomplishments, what is even more impressive is that China Crisis has kept it together as they march through the year 2022.
Forty years is quite a long time, but China Crisis has done a pretty good job of sustaining themselves with consist studio recording success in the ’80s, touring through the ’90s-’00s, and more recently putting out the studio album Autumn in the Neighbourhood back in 2015. Taking time to reflect on the past four decades, the guys are currently partaking in a very special 40th anniversary tour across the USA in 2022. Initially kicking off on June 8th in Seattle, WA, they have quickly moved across the continent stopping in various places before landing in Pawling, NY on the evening of Wednesday June 29th. A highlight on the tour for the band, it would be their second visit to Daryl’s House in the past two years. Last visiting in January of 2020 before the world locked down, during this current go around they would offer a 90 plus minute career retrospective set well worth coming out for.
As mentioned, Daly and Lundon have and will always be the foundation of China Crisis. That said, the perform for the evening included themselves with assistance from two talented touring musicians; Jack Hymers on keyboards and Eric Animan on saxphone. A very laid back night, the mood was certainly more pronounced by the quaint feel of venue which features a full menu of food and drinks along with tables and chairs. Additionally, low lighting and fantastic acoustics assisted in shaping the atmosphere. Going in a relatively chronologic order through the history of their career, they played their singles as well as other deep album gems. Extremely well-balanced, but also stimulating, highlights included “Some People I Know to Lead Fantastic Lives,” the breathtaking “Here Comes a Raincloud,” “Bigger the Punch I’m Feeling,” “Black Man Ray,” as well as popular tracks such as “Wishful Thinking” and “King in a Catholic Style” later on.
With so much in-between also worth discussing, what really added to it all was Daly’s loose approach to communicating with the audience between songs. Always known to have a good sense of humor, Daly was playful and delightfully funny with cracks about emulating their influences, schooling the audience on British sayings, and the dreaded, yet inevitable aging process. A good approach to keeping the night going without a dragging moment, amidst all the jokes Daly also provided some very thoughtful insight into China Crisis’ past. This included self reflection, honest assessments on how songs were originally constructed, but also discussion of other acts from the UK New Wave scene during the early ’80s period. In truth, to a astute fan looking for more than just a night out, the dialogue matched with the songs is really what made it all so special. Heck, Daly’s relaxed attitude even got the usually more subdued Lundon in on the fun with moments of laughter and added comments.
All in all a China Crisis follower could not have asked for a better 40th anniversary festivity. It was a thoughtful set that touched on nearly every album, and amidst it all, other standout moments includes “African and White” featuring help from a crowd member on drums, the mesmerizing “Christian,” but also the interjection of newer songs such as “My Sweet Delight.” With each track sounding better than the next, despite the band’s nonchalant projections on stage, you can tell that they truly do put a lot of introspect and care into these performances. These thoughts in mind, the USA tour only has seven shows left through July 8th, so perhaps you should get out there and indulge in this well-deserved celebration of China Crisis.