Following the release of their latest live compilation album ‘Elevated Living’, The Chameleons completed their trilogy of album tours playing a set celebrating the anniversary of material from their 1985 second studio album, ‘What Does Anything Mean Basically?’, over 35 years since its release. Founding members Mark Burgess (vocals, bass) and Reg Smithies (guitar) were joined by the rest of the touring lineup.

The band opened on the first track of the album, instrumental piece ‘Silence, Sea and Sky’, against which Burgess read some poetic lyrics. They then proceeded to play the rest of the album in tracklist order, featuring ‘Perfume Garden’, ‘Return Of The Roughnecks’ and ‘Singing Rule Britannia (While The Walls Close In)’, with their combination of soft synthscapes, feathery guitar and uncomprimising rhythm section, the latter track of which also saw Burgess weave in lyrics from The Clash’s ‘White Riot’.

The Chameleons moved onto side B of the album, with ‘On The Beach’ and the suspenseful power-synth of ‘Home Is Where The Heart Is’, ending the tracklist on final song ‘P.S. Goodbye’. They also added the two bonus tracks on the CD reissue, the A- and B-sides of their single release of the same time, ‘In Shreds’ and ‘Nostalgia’.

The band returned for a four-song encore featuring two tracks each from their other two studio albums, ‘Script Of The Bridge’ and ‘Strange Times’, including ‘Swamp Thing’ and ‘Second Skin’; the final song saw Burgess precariously come off the stage, over the photo pit and into the crowd, adding lyrics from Gerry & The Pacemakers song ‘I Like It’.

05/02/22: The Chameleons @ Islington Assembly Hall, London.

© Ayisha Khan.