Epitome: Siouxsie – “Israel (live)”, from the Nocturne video, Royal Albert Hall, September 1983

As I said in this post over here, 1983 was a hectic time for the Siouxsie and the Banshees and Cure families.  Robert Smith was cosied up with Steve Severin, consumption and creativity levels were high and thus was formed the Glove.

Smith still found time to play guitar with Siouxsie and the Banshees on tour.  He’d played with the Banshees before in 1979, when the Cure had also supported them – busy night for Bob.

So, the Banshees toured and played the Royal Albert Hall on September 30th and October 1st 1983.  Both nights were recorded and the best tracks selected for Nocturne – on video, double LP (with four extra tracks), later on CD, and latest on DVD (along with the 45min Channel Four music show “Play at Home” [discussed here, with the entire show via YouTube] and the Dear Prudence promo video).  The opening track is “Israel” – another of those pesky standalone singles which were released between LPs (like “Fireworks”) – and it really sets the bar high for quality – both of song and delivery.

I like the single version of Israel, but for me this version takes the plaudits.  Budgie and Severin were a really tight unit by now, and these two gigs came of the back of a short European tour and the band were fighting fit and really locked in.  Confidence was high – the previous year they had released “A Kiss in the Dreamhouse” to universal acclaim –  and Siouxsie had never sounded or looked better.

But the icing on the cake is Robert Smith.  His interpretation of John McGeoch’s guitar lines, and his waspish guitar sound (with loads-super-flanger™), is a truly wonderful thing, and he would take this sound on when the band recorded “Hyaena” – very sadly the only studio Banshees LP (to date – there’s still time) – to include Robert Smith.

Sit back and enjoy is-ra-el!

See more Siouxsie and the Banshees articles…

Single version – promo video (HD)

Entire gig

Siouxsie and the Banshees – “Israel”, 1980

Little orphans in the snow,
With nowhere to call their home,
Start their singing…singing.

Waiting through the summertime,
To thaw your hearts in wintertime,
That’s why they’re singing…singing.

Waiting for a sign – to turn blood into wine,
The sweet taste in your mouth,
Turned bitter in it’s glass.

Israel, in Israel!
In Israel, in Israel!

Shattered fragments of the past,
Meet in veins of real stained glass,
Like the lifeline in your palm.
Red and Green reflects a scene,
Of a long forgotten dream,
There were Princes – and there were Kings!

Now hidden in disguise,
Cheap wrappings of lies,
Keep your hearts alive,
With a song from inside!

Even though we’re all alone,
We are never on our own,
When we’re singing…singing.

Hoooooa! Hoooooa!
There’s a man who’s looking in,
And he smiles a toothless grin,
Because he’s singing…singing.
Sees some people shine with glee,
But their song is jealousy,
Their hate his clanging,
Maddening!

In Israel, will they sing Happy Noel?
In Israel, in Israel
Israel, in Israel
In Israel, will they sing Happy Noel?

2 thoughts on “Epitome: Siouxsie – “Israel (live)”, from the Nocturne video, Royal Albert Hall, September 1983

  1. Absolutely agree – Nocturne is like a live Banshees greatest hits. Probably my most listened to s album by them. And i do love that it’s RS on guitar. I’d say that Night Shift is another 10/10 classic standout track which improves on the original….

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