Oh Boy! I have been blessed to see the legendary Boy George twice in the last 48 hours.
When I was young and impressionable (yes, can you believe there was a time when that was the case!) and when I had strange feelings that made me start to think “I wasn’t normal,” I had someone like Boy George who dressed as he wanted to, said what he wanted to and refused to compromise to look up to as a role model, and for that, I am so grateful!!! From the earliest stages of his career to present day, Boy George does not give a fuck what you think and never minces words. Those are two qualities that are I still admire to this day and I definitely live my life in that way. There are a lot of haters out there (like people that have nothing better to do than go on According2g.com and leave shitty comments, but THANK YOU for keeping me on the tip of your mind so passionately and for your patronage), so this is for you. Imagine what you could achieve if you channel that hatred elsewhere into something productive? So this song is for you – the song of course is “Victims,” a Culture Club cover that Boy George performed at Irving Plaza in New York on April 22, 2014. Put a little love in your heart. You might be surprised! xx
BOY GEORGE! Performing a way sold out show on April 22, 2014 at New York’s Irving Plaza, Boy George took to the Manhattan stage for the first time in over a decade (not counting DJ gigs) and it was a night to remember! Kicking off the show by playing his new album “This is What I Do,” Boy George played a beefy 24 song set that covered the musical gamut from reggae to country and back to rock, covers from Yoko Ono (“Death of Samantha”) and Bread (“Everything I Own”) to Lou Reed (“Satellite of Love”), T. Rex (“Get it On (Bang A Gong)” and Bob Dylan (“It Ain’t Me Babe” and “Make You Feel My Love”) plus a handful of Culture Club classics (“Church of the Poison Mind,” “Karma Chameleon,” “Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?” “Victims” and his solo hit “Bow Down Mister”)! His new album, if you haven’t already gotten it, is very diverse musically and George’s band kicked out the jams that feature extremely mature and spiritual lyrics. George quoted Eckhart Tolle telling the crowd to stay in the now and songs included “Feel the Vibration,” “Live Your Life” and George proclaimed that “love is bigger than war” during the track “Bigger Than War.” George, who seemed happy to be back on the New York stage soaked up the love that the crowd (which included Miss Guy and Debbie Harry) was showering him with. He told funny anecdotes in between songs and thanked the crowd for not talking too loudly to each other during the new songs. He especially thanked the crowd for supporting his new album.
When he got to “Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?” he went off on the crowd for taking invasive cell phone photos and video saying that “if he wanted the video to go up on youtube, he’d film it with a crew himself and not make us do it.” I was up in the VIP section in the balcony (not using flash, nor blocking the crowd trying to take annoying iPhone videos, nor being close enough to distract or annoy the performer) and I got the whole thing on video. Should I post it? You decide and let us know in the comments section. I was near the soundboard, so I was far from being invasive, but it’s a fine line you walk when you want to get the video out to the people and also want to respect the wishes of an artist you’ve loved for three decades!!! I did, however, post a video of the classic “Karma Chameleon” which immediately segued into a cover of T. Rex’ “Get It On (Bang A Gong).” Excuse me for a minute while my inner child freaks the fuck out for a little bit!
Now that I’ve regained my composure, can I just say on behalf of New York, please come back and play for us more regularly! We’ve missed you desperately George! If we have to rely on the thinly talented RuPaul as a hero in the gay community, we are seriously doomed! xx
And now… “Karma Chameleon” and “Get It On.” Just press play.
Boy George Irving Plaza Set List
The set list (despite the picture) was:
King of Everything / Death of Samantha (Yoko Ono cover) / Any Road (George Harrison cover) / My God / Feel the Vibration / Love and Danger / Live Your Life / Bigger Than War / Nice and Slow / My Star / It’s Easy / It Ain’t Me Babe (Bob Dylan cover) / Satellite of Love (Lou Reed cover) / Turn on a Little Light for Me / Church of the Poison Mind (Culture Club cover).
Do You Really Want to Hurt Me? (Culture Club cover) / Everything I Own (Bread cover) / Karma Chameleon (Culutre Club cover) / Get It On (Bang a Gong) (T. Rex cover) / Bow Down Mister
Play Me / Victims (Culture Club cover) / Make You Feel My Love (Bob Dylan cover)
Photo and autograph courtesy of my obtained in-person autograph collection.
My "Colour by Numbers" by Culture Club CD, autographed by Boy George
I don’t know how it’s possible that Boy George is 50 today, but it’s true. The front man of Culture Club has always been one of my heroes. I grew up in the 80s and Boy George was such an inspiration in my life. In a time when it was practically verboten to be flamboyant, let alone be outspoken and unapologetic for being yourself, there was Boy George dressing in drag, on the cover of every magazine, all over the TV and making great music along the way. Looking back, I remember so many people that were anti-gay, but there they were singing along to the words of hits such as “Time (Clock of the Heart),” “It’s A Miracle,” “Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?” and “Karma Chameleon.” It was the first time in my life where people listened to the music and ignored the personal details. For my generation, Boy George was a pioneer in breaking down the barriers for gay people to not have to live their lives in the closet.
When I saw Culture Club in concert for the first time, the audience was comprised of every type of person on the planet! Everyone at the concert came not to express hatred for their differences, but instead, it was one of the biggest love-fests I’ve ever seen in my life. The show was great and afterwards, I met Boy George. He had his hands full and I thought my chances at getting a signature were not going to happen. I decided to ask anyway and Boy George said, “Listen cutie, let me put this stuff down and I’ll be right back.” True to his word, a moment later he came back and gladly signed a few albums for me! I’ve never gotten over it. All I can say again is thanks so much George for all the music you’ve given the world, thanks for giving so many people the courage to live out and proud and on a personal note, thanks for giving me a memory I still think about 20 years after it happened! Happy birthday! xx
Photos of Janette Beckman & David Corio’s photos by G.
'Catch the Beat' The Roots of Punk and Hip Hop Photographs by Janette Beckman & David Corio. Showing at Morrison Hotel Gallery in NYC through March 2011.
If you are a fan of the punk and hip-hop scene, you’ll definitely want to head over to the Morrison Hotel Gallery to check out their latest exhibition ‘Catch the Beat’ The Roots of Punk and Hip Hop Photographs by Janette Beckman & David Corio. Though viewing punk and hip-hop images together seems at first like an odd combination, both styles of music raised the bar a lot higher and seeing these images together will help viewers to realize how important Punk and Hip Hop are to the history of music and photography.
Boy George by Janette Beckman
You’ll also see wonderful and rarely seen photos of Eazy E, Roxanne Shante, The Jam, The Clash, Johnny Rotten, Shane MacGowan, Run DMC, James Brown, The Police and many more.