ChameleonsVox Reunion Tour: Reliving ‘Script of the Bridge’ Classics Review+Photos: Theatre of Hate at Skully's Music Diner 10/5/23
“…The Chameleons were up next, which I was excited to see as I have never had the opportunity. I remember in my youth being pretty obsessed with their “Script of the Bridge”. So much so that the band I was in at the time covered “Up The Down Escalator” and “Don’t Fall” for fun. Mark Burgess’ voice is unique-sounding, like a powerful pushed vocal and proper enunciation, and it was as strong as ever this night. Though he’s been touring as “ChameleonsVox” for several years with the help of the original drummer John Lever, who sadly passed away in 2017. However, on this tour, he has reunited with the original guitarist, Reg Smithies, giving somewhat of a reunion from their heyday. Rounding out the lineup are two additional musicians who have worked with Burgess in recent years, guitarist Stephen Rice and drummer Chris Oliver. They played a set covering a number of classics from the three albums that made up the group’s original classic run.
They opened with “A Person Isn’t Safe Anywhere These Days,” followed by ”Monkeyland and “Looking Inwardly.” Happily, what came next was the aforementioned “Escalator,” which, just hearing the opening jangling yet tight up downs drenched in a bit of maybe flanger and a little bit of distortion, got my heartbeat up and running. I love that song so much. Their set was a mere 8 songs, which sadly did not include “Don’t Fall,” but they did play the beautiful and atmospheric “Swamp Thing” and “Second Skin.”
At one point during their set, Mark addressed the crowd, thanking them for their decades of support. He shared that there have been many times they thought of calling it quits recently; but during the peak of COVID, Mark’s mother had sadly passed but in her final days encouraged her son not to quit and to keep going, which he has done with passion and vigor. I, for one, am thankful that he listened. I realize that I am gushing here, but Mark’s impassioned performance of these classic songs gave me a euphoric reaction as I sang along. As they finish out the remaining US dates of the Dejavú tour, I am hoping they return soon for more shows and maybe even a new album…”