Saturday, May 3, 2014

Let's Hear it for the Boy

I don't remember exactly how it all started, but somehow, Boy George became a part of my life very early on -like when I was six. And I have to say, it might have been Boy George and Culture Club that began my music obsession. Kissing to be Clever and Colour by Numbers were on constant play. It wasn't just the Karma Chameleon and Tumble 4 Ya that I liked, it was my first experience of reggae - songs like Love Twist exposed me to something I had never heard before.

But I also have to say that because no one, even my veteran, old school father, did not stop me from listening to someone who was so ahead of his time. This cross-dressing, gay enigma was not banned from my room or my ears. To my parents, I thank you. To my sister who had to listen to the 45 of That's the Way every single morning ... yeah, sorry about that. But you know, he was on the A-Team and yes, that is my favorite episode of all time. 

While Culture Club went away, Boy went out on his own and continued in the reggae, jazz, and even ventured into DJing. Songs like The Crying Game, Bow Down Mister, and Sweet Toxic Love replaced the pop-esque 80's George. After some incidents he'd like to forget, he's come out looking better than ever with credit to practicing Nichiren Buddhism and his adoption of a vegan / raw lifestyle. Even the sound on his new album is full of energy, great lyrics, and his voice sounds timeless.

Hearing that Boy George was going to play Irvin Plaza, of course I was going. Was that ever a question? I did hope that most people would understand it would not be a Culture Club show. They did. Apparently, according to George himself, we were the best crowd he had in the few shows he had already done.

After the DJ got us in dancing mode, George appeared looking fit, sounding soulful, and was as sarcastic yet kind as ever. His new lifestyle was really paying off. Throughout the show, he would blow kisses, wave at people, and chit chat with the crowd.  Every now and then he would remind those who did shout out old Culture Club songs, that they would be disappointed. That constantly reminiscing and being nostalgic wasn't good for the soul. But, if we behaved ourselves we would get some surprises.

He did not disappoint. The surprises were numerous covers including George Harrison, Lou Reed, and Bob Dylan. He re-touched Karma Chameleon and Do You Really Want to Hurt Me beautifully into reggae and jazz, with some hints of the classics we all listened to on MTV. His new songs from the album This is What I Do were well received and show a much more mature and respectful George. His songs, King of Everything, My God, and Nice and Slow deserve more airplay - so go ahead and take a listen sometime soon.
Now, two songs for me were stellar. First, Bow Down Mister was a Hare Krishna Baptist revival. Once everyone got moving, jumping, swaying, and chanting Hare Krishna, there was an energy I have never felt at a show with everyone in the crowd. Usually you get a few to participate, but everyone was into this song.

Second, a song that for some reason I did not have on my iPod: Victims. As soon as I heard it begin, the lyrics came back to me instantly. It is a  haunting song and it was just as if I was in my room and I was eight years old again. At one part, where there is one loud drum beat and then it cascades into the back up vocalist and the horns, I remember putting my hands up to my mouth in awe and crying. YES! I cried. This sort of sad song, brought back a happy memory and made me even happier that I was there, almost thirty years later, seeing the very person who taught me about love, music, and being myself. 
As I said before, throughout the show, George would interact with the crowd, a kiss, a wave, something to let them know he was paying attention and grateful for them being so supportive. Now, I am going to swear that he pointed at me - but you be the judge - this isn't my video, I'm just glad I found it.  (here is the link - go to 2:40  

In all, it was better than I expected. If you had told me when I was six years old that I would still have the same excitement, enjoyment, and still know every word to every song, I probably would have that concept is pretty cool. I'm thankful that I have been able to discover musicians that have longevity and want more than to be a recycle of their past. 
(c) PMCarlson 2014
Set List
  • 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)
  • You'll Lose a Good Thing (Barbara Lynn cover)
  • Turn On a Little Light for Me
  • Church of the Poison Mind
  • Encore:
  • Do You Really Want to Hurt Me? 
  • Everything I Own
  • Karma Chameleon 
  • Get It On (T. Rex cover)
  • Bow Down Mister
  • Encore 2:
  • Play Me
  • Victims
  • Make You Feel My love

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