5 Observations from Culture Club at the Beacon (Night One)

Posted by The G on July 28, 2015 under G Reviews | Read the First Comment

Photos and words by G.

Boy George of Culture Club

Boy George of Culture Club

1980s music titans Culture Club are back.  They slayed New York last night, July 27, 2015, with the first of two sold out shows at the Beacon Theatre in Manhattan.  Here are 5 things I observed at the show:

Boy George of Culture Club

Boy George of Culture Club

1. Culture Club have so many great songs!  When I arrived at the Beacon Theatre, a DJ was spinning 1980s music remixed with modern beats, which set the mood for an incredibly good time.  At the stroke of 8:30, Boy George, Mikey Craig, Roy Hay and Jon Moss, better known as Culture Club, hit the stage.  A video montage of Culture Club’s highs and lows preceded the band coming out and then they pummeled the crowd with hit after hit.  If you had the pleasure to be alive when these songs came out, you remember that these tracks were so massive, the radio all but played them to death.  When you see songs as beloved as these performed in a large concert hall, the enthusiasm of the crowd makes you fall in love with them all over again.

Roy Hay and Boy George

Roy Hay and Boy George

Kicking off with “Church of the Poison Mind,” the entire night was a giant sing-a-long, with the audience losing its mind during classic tracks such as “I’ll Tumble 4 Ya,” “It’s a Miracle,” “Miss Me Blind,” “Time (Clock of the Heart),” “Move Away,” fan favorite “Black Money,” “Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?” and the song that the audience went the most bonkers over, “Karma Chameleon.”  Two of Boy George’s solo hits, covers of “Everything I Own and “The Crying Game” were also played to much adulation from the crowd.  David Bowie’s “Starman,” which was included on Culture Club’s first reunion album in 2001, closed out the show. But the night was not all nostalgia, Culture Club is working on a new record and 6 songs were aired, including the self reflective “Like I Used To,” “Different Man,” “Let Somebody Love You,” and their latest single “More Than Silence.”

Boy George of Culture Club

Boy George of Culture Club

2. Culture Club’s music transports you back to a time where things were not disposable.  As Boy George pointed out on stage, the world is finally starting to get its first taste of sexual equality and this was the world Boy George has wanted to create and live in since the onset of his career.  When you think of how far we’ve come since Culture Club debuted in 1982, you realize how many barriers were broken down by this band.  How many other bands do you know that were multi-racial, straight, had an extremely outspoken, openly gay lead singer and had crossover appeal throughout the world?  Not many!  Boy George has always been uncompromising in his stance on being yourself under any circumstance and not giving a fuck what anyone thinks of you.  In a time where you faced much more persecution from your peers and the media for being flamboyant, out and proud than you do today, gay culture owes a huge debt of gratitude to Boy George for never backing down.

Boy George

Boy George

3. Culture Club shows still attract a widely diverse audience.  I’ve seen the band together and Boy George solo on many occasions, and you will rarely find a more diverse crowd.  Last night, you could readily find young and old people, gay, straight and of all races and that is a great thing.  I think the audience had a collective realization of all these things I said after “Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?” was played and the ovation after the song went on for several minutes and Boy George even had to tell the audience to stop cheering because he was about to get emotional from the outpouring of love.

Roy Hay and Mikey Craig

Roy Hay and Mikey Craig

4. Culture Club has aged really well.  From the songs still sounding amazing, to the fact that the band looks great and well preserved, Culture Club may have only had a few hit albums, but they left a permanent mark in music history.  Boy George famously had drug and legal problems for many years and not only was he in good shape physically, he also sounded great.  His voice is a little huskier than it used to be, but he can still hit the notes and he still lets you have it with his witty onstage banter, his numerous costume changes and his “it quality” as a performer.

Boy George

Boy George

5. I would be remiss if I didn’t get up on my soap box to complain about the excessive amount of selfie and picture taking that went on.  I am guilty of taking photos as much as the next person, but there is one slight difference – I use an actual camera (which is cheaper than an iPhone and light and compact to carry around) and I bring this up because I do not have to block other people’s views to take my pictures.  What exactly are the people doing with all these photos and videos they are taking?  Certainly not blogging about them for a worldwide audience to read!  Cell phone photos come out much worse than camera photos.  Also, they are much more obtrusive and people literally don’t seem to care at all about anyone around them, because the only way to get a photo is to hold the device over your head, which blocks the view of EVERYONE behind you.  Take as many photos as you like and I don’t care if you watch the entire show through the back of your phone – but PLEASE PAY ATTENTION to your surroundings!!!!!  So many times in the show, Boy George came over to our side to serenade us and his face was cock blocked by everyone around me holding up their fucking phones and even worse, their giant iPads!!!  Boy George complained about this during his last solo tour and I wish he would have said something about it last night because it’s plain excessive – and it’s happening at every concert I go to, and as I go to a lot of shows, it’s starting to become a deal breaker for me.

Boy George

Boy George

The irony is that many of the concert goers should know better because when this music came out, it was not a digital age and we actually had to live in the moment and experience the concert.  I guess some nostalgia is conveniently forgotten.

Roy Hay, Jon Moss, Mikey Craig of Culture Club

Roy Hay, Jon Moss, Mikey Craig of Culture Club

The setlist was:

Church of the Poison Mind / It’s A Miracle / I’ll Tumble 4 Ya / Let Somebody Love You / Everything I Own / Like I Used To / Move Away / Black Money / Victims / Human Zoo / Time (Clock of the Heart) / Different Man / Miss Me Blind / I Just Want To Be Loved / The Crying Game / Do You Really Want To Hurt Me? / More Than Silence

Encore:

Crowd Sing-a-Long of Karma Chameleon / Runaway Train / Karma Chameleon

2nd Encore:

Starman

Boy George

Boy George

Boy George - He's a star, man!

Boy George – He’s a star, man!

Review: Lana Del Rey live at Irving Plaza (1st Night)

Posted by The G on June 8, 2012 under Encounters with G, G Reviews | Be the First to Comment

Photos by G.

Lana Del Rey June 7 2012

Lana Del Rey on June 7, 2012 at Irving Plaza in New York

The last time Lana Del Rey played New York City, she made headlines across the world with a less than perfect performance on the TV show Saturday Night Live.  She had a live performance redemption on June 7, 2012 at Irving Plaza for the first of 3 sold out shows.  Lana-be’s (you’re welcome for that word!) from near and far gathered to watch the self-proclaimed “gangsta Nancy Sinatra” perform songs off her excellent album “Born to Die.”

Lana Del Rey

Lana Del Rey

Lana Del Rey took the stage at 10 PM after a tortuous set by the rap group Zebra Katz (who were pelted with ice after singing a nearly 15 minute song that repeated “Imma Read Dat Bitch”).   The stage was like a mini jungle as there were trees and plants everywhere!  Del Rey was backed by a 5 piece band that included a mini orchestral section (and no drummer).

Lana Del Rey

Lana Del Rey

Lana wasted no time making the crowd freak out in delight as she opened with her mega-hit “Blue Jeans.”  The crowd sang along to every word of the song (and nearly every song after).   “The Body Electric” made its New York debut next and a video of that song will be coming soon so stay tuned!  One of the lyrical highlights of that song is “Jesus is my bestest friend.”  She sang the lyric “Let me fuck you hard in the pouring rain” during “Born to Die,” and that got some of the biggest cheers of the night.

Lana Del Rey

Lana Del Rey

Over the course of the next 45 minutes, you could tell Lana is developing a better stage presence and she was showered with love by her fans.  During many of the songs, fans held their hands out in hopes of Lana touching them and it reminded me of being at a Morrissey concert (and for those wondering, she obliged as often as possible).

Lana Del Rey

Lana Del Rey

If I were to say something bad about the show (aside from Irving Plaza charging an extra $35 per head for an alleged “VIP section!!!), the downside was that the show only consisted of 10 songs, so many great tracks off “Born to Die” (such as “Radio,” “Off To The Races” and “Diet Mountain Dew”) were not played.  It hardly seemed to matter to the legions of Lana-be’s who waited after the show to catch a glimpse of the goddess leaving the venue.

If you’ll recall, I met Lana Del Rey prior to her album being released, and at that time she was extremely nice.  Now that she’s even more famous, has the fame gone to her head?  The answer and the set list – after the jump.

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Kylie Minogue’s Aphrodite Les Foiles Tour In New York (1st Night Review)

Posted by The G on May 3, 2011 under G Reviews | 2 Comments to Read

Photos by G.

Kylie Minogue

Kylie Minogue

In 2009, when Kylie Minogue performed her first tour in the US, I left her show thinking it was one of the better shows I’d seen that year.  2 years later, Kylie Minogue is back with her Aphrodite Les Foiles Tour and it’s one of the best shows I’ve seen in 2011.  Playing the first of 3 nights at New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom, Kylie hit the stage at a very early 8:30 PM.  Gone from this tour, were Pink Floyd worthy laser lights and instead replaced with a mythological stage set up that included a golden chariot, a marble statue and a bunch of dancers with amazing bodies who all wore very little.

Kylie!

Kylie played so many hits in remixed versions including a rock version of “Can’t Get You Outta My Head,” a swing version of “Slow” (that finally gave way to a dance version by the end of the song) and also sang an acoustic/dance version of “The Locomotion,” – at the request of the audience.  Also played were her classics such as “Better the Devil You Know,” “”I Believe In You,”  “Spinning Around,” “On A Night Like This,” “Wow,” “The One” and “In My Arms.”  She also focused on playing material for her latest album “Aphrodite,” including “All The Lovers,” “Get Outta My Way” and “Put Your Hands Up,” which saw the entire Hammerstein Ballroom doing just that!  Kylie also did 2 covers:  Eurythmics’ “There Must Be An Angel Playing With My Heart” (and a video of that is coming soon, so stay tuned) and Prefab Sprout’s  “If You Don’t Love Me.”

Put Your Hands Up (if According2g.com is your favorite website)

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Janet Jackson live at Radio City Music Hall (1st Night)

Posted by The G on March 19, 2011 under G Reviews | Read the First Comment

Photos by G.

Janet Jackson

Janet Jackson

On March 18, 2011, Janet Jackson played her first of 3 sold out shows at New York’s Radio City Music Hall.  The doors opened at 7, and the teenage R&B/hip-hop group Mindless Behavior played a 25 minute set starting at 8 pm. At 9:25 PM, the lights went down and 2of Janet’s music videos were played (“The Best Things in Life Are Free” and “Rhythm Nation”).  Apparently, in every city on her “Up Close and Personal Tour,” Janet is dedicating songs to each city (read: 10 minutes of filler).  Though she’s noticeably heavier than she used to be, she still has the moves. Once the show began, it was a non-stop dance party.

Is Janet Here?

In typical Janet Jackson concert fashion, there were several outfit changes, lots of dancers, cool visuals on the screens behind the stage, tons of lip-synching and truncated versions of almost every song.  With that being said, Janet Jackson has so many great songs and she did her best to play as many hits as possible. How can you not love a concert where you hear “Pleasure Principle,” “Nasty,” “Control,” “Rhythm Nation,” “Miss You Much,” “That’s The Way Love Goes,” “If,” “Again,” “All For You” and “Feedback” and all in under an hour and 45 minutes!

Janet Jackson - In Control

Two video montages were shown during the concert (one of all of Janet’s looks throughout the years and one of her acting – from Good Times to Poetic Justice) and Janet also paid tribute to her brother Michael by playing the number one single “Scream.” Speaking of screams, the loudest screams of the night were heard during that song.  One thing that can be said about seeing Janet Jackson in concert: you won’t walk away feeling like she phoned it in.  She always gives it all she’s got and I think it’s safe to say, she sent 4,500 people dancing away into the night with smiles on their faces.

A video of “If / Scream / Rhythm Nation” will be coming soon.  Stay tuned.  See the set list after the jump.

Janet Jackson

Janet Jackson

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