EELS – Eels: Royal Albert Hall (2015)

Review by: Jaime Vargas Sánchez
Album assigned by: Roland Bruynesteyn

Oh, great, a piano intro. And then a version of “When you wish upon a star”.  And a piano ballad. I’m already regretting putting the album on, since I had a bad night yesterday and I’m about to fall asleep. Why do alt-rock ensembles have this tendency to do boring sets when they want to seem important? I still remember a Smashing Pumpkins show I attended in 2001 – well I digress and I’d like to suppress that memory. Besides, Eels switched gears already. From piano ballad to country rock ballad. Yeah, not going to get whiplash any time soon.

Mr. Everett is addressing the audience. He’s focusing on how a lot of legends have played in the RAH. And about how he’s not allowed to play the pipe organ, so you know he will, besides, for all the talk about how only experienced people should play it, it seems everybody and his mother has played it. His speech took longer than any of the songs, of which he just started another. Look, Mr. E, are you trying to lull me to sleep or what? At this point I’d rather listen to a version of the Macarena rather than to another heartfelt ballad (well, I suppose it’s heartfelt, since your deadpan delivery doesn’t allow me to discern it). Great, another one, and called “My timing’s off” – you don’t say. Somebody should teach this guy something about pacing. Because “A line in the dirt”, while boring and clichéd, has a nice chorus melody, but after the onslaught of ballads this one feels as “oh Christ please not one more”.  

There are more.

He says “It’s over”. Thank God. Not that the pace picks up a lot, but at least the songs have a bit of a lilt now. Well, the last song from the first CD, “Fresh Feeling”, is a dance number. Nice.

Let’s change CDs.

Hey, uptempo! I had forgotten what that was. “I like birds” has a bit of a late 50s / early 60s vibe, which is always welcome. More ballads. Mr. E could have a nice career in Broadway. More classic pop vibe. And some very well crafted melodies along the way – more in the instrumental parts than in the vocal melodies.

There is one song called “I like the way this is going”. I don’t. Especially since two songs later comes “Last stop: this town” which is basically the same song or at least the same guitar arpeggio. BTW, Mr. E, stop reminding me every 15 minutes that you are in the Royal Albert Hall. The RAH has been used for pop concerts for quite a long time now. In these days, that you play at the RAH just means that you are not big enough to fill the O2 or Wembley.

And he just butchered “Can’t Help Falling In Love”.

See? He’s at the organ.

Doing nothing of importance.

Roland, you owe me two hours of my life back.
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Author: tomymostalas

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