Home Live Review Live Review: Dave Stewart and Eurythmics Songbook @ EagleBank Arena — 3/13/24

Live Review: Dave Stewart and Eurythmics Songbook @ EagleBank Arena — 3/13/24

Live Review: Dave Stewart and Eurythmics Songbook @ EagleBank Arena — 3/13/24
Vanessa Amorosi and Dave Stewart perform at EagleBank Arena on March 13, 2024. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)

Dave Stewart, the splendid Englishman who shot to fame as half of the synthpop duo Eurythmics, has a great ear for music, and he has applied that strength to fashion a decades-long career as a powerhouse producer in America.

But that keen ear for music was very much on display in a welcome return to the stage for Dave, who recently toured the songs of the Eurythmics as opener for Bryan Adams. Dave recruited a stunning band of female musicians, each of whom brought their own sonic strengths to the ensemble, to explore 11 superb Eurythmics songs in concert when the tour arrived for a DC-area show at EagleBank Arena.

I came into this show fully realizing that I was going to witness something great, and Dave did not disappoint. Dave and his Eurythmics bandmate Annie Lennox stopped touring together before I fully embraced attending live shows, and so I never got to see them tour. I made certain that I was at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction concert for the Eurythmics in 2022, however, where I witnessed Dave and Annie perform together in appropriately grand fashion.

The Eurythmics induction served as a springboard for Dave to tour these songs in America, although he took them to Europe first. With Annie unwilling to tour, Dave not only recruited several killer female vocalists to sing the songs, he also assembled a band of women musicians to build the melodies and rhythms that make the Eurythmics songs so great.

On March 13 at EagleBank Arena, Dave Stewart and the Eurythmics Songbook band impressed from the very first number, “I Need a Man,” from 1987’s Savage, the sixth Eurythmics studio album. Long heralded as a showcase for Annie Lennox’s mighty voice, vocalist Vanessa Amorosi gave the song her all with electrifying intensity. The audience was immediately onboard.

Stream “I Need a Man” by Eurythmics on Spotify:

Vanessa soon sang “The Miracle of Love,” infusing it with a bluesy melancholy. Dave wound down “The Miracle of Love” with a stirring flamenco guitar that hushed the arena. Throughout the show, the dapper and cerebral Mr. Stewart moved with grace and ease, pacing the set with a number of magnificent guitars as he strode comfortably across and along the entire stage. He was very much in his element, and it was marvelous to see him perform again.

And that performance was augmented by the talents of Dave’s other Songbook bandmates. By the time of “When Tomorrow Comes,” the audience engaged with the band’s second primary vocalist, Stevvi Alexander, whose enthusiasm and brightness added elegance and light to the tunes.

Each of the other band members had their opportunity to shine and notably “There Must Be an Angel (Playing with My Heart)” (from 1985’s Be Yourself Tonight) provided wonderful opportunities for Indiara Sfair on harmonica and Yasmin Ogilvie on saxophone. The UK No. 1 single famously features a harmonica solo by Stevie Wonder, and Indiara absolutely nailed that solo to the delight of the audience. Similarly, Yasmin was a luminous presence, imbuing her performance on saxophone with joy, sophistication, and skill. Both women effectively presented masterful turns on their instruments, particularly as they each commanded the stage during their respective instrumental breaks.

Look, every one of these 11 songs were winners, but there is nothing that causes your hair to stand on end like the thrilling “Here Comes the Rain Again,” which Dave and company performed after the show’s midpoint. The extraordinary 1984 single, hailing from the Eurythmics’ third album Touch, remains such a mood all its own with its foreboding yet elevating lyrics and breathtaking instrumental arrangements. The band did this one proud, but most of all, Dave eased the tune into our very souls with dramatic and sweeping guitar.

“Here Comes the Rain Again” is simply one of the best pop songs ever written, and Dave’s band were up to the task of delivering a proper rendition.

Stream “Here Comes the Rain Again” by Eurythmics on Spotify:

The rest of Dave’s great band held down the fort from the back of the stage — keyboardist Hannah Koppenburg, drummer Ellie East, and bassist Julia Lamb were deep into the rhythm. And does any song ever have a more distinctive rhythm than the mega-hit smash “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)?” Dave Stewart and his band of course closed the set with this unstoppable and innovative earworm. Every element of the show and each member of the band came fully together for the 1983 single, which stands as a global grand slam. Hannah fired the instantly recognizable synths from her Nord Stage 4 keyboard; Ellie smacked out the beat on drums; and Julia rocked out on the bass. For his part, Dave introduced a moment of levity when he mimed the cello, recalling his action in the famous music video for the song.

This tremendous concert, which only could have sprang from the mind of Dave Stewart, was one of the best shows that I’ve seen in a long time. My only criticism was that it should have been its own headlining performance. The Eurythmics got their start with tunes that were very much in the Futurist mold of English pop tunes, and the band continued to draw from new wave audiences as it grew through embrace of soul, blues, and other genres. A headlining tour of the Eurythmics Songbook would draw out those admirers for a very special experience.

Here are some photos of Dave Stewart and his band performing the Eurythmics Songbook at EagleBank Arena on March 13, 2024. All photos by Mickey McCarter.



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