“Are we not in the desert? Where are we?” A bit of comic relief part way through The Go-Go’s set by Gina Schock, who as per tradition emerges from her drum kit at some point in the show to give us a bit of fun. And that is kind of at the heart of The Go-Go’s punky/poppy/surfy/beachy New Wave music, so what better a group to headline 2014’s newest 80s-centric tour, Replay America. Also on the bill is Patty Smyth from Scandal, Martha Davis from The Motels, and Pete Byrne from Naked Eyes. A real assortment of 80s hitmakers each took to the stage at Thunder Valley Casino Resort on Saturday night to take the crowd back about three decades to a real innovative time in music. Though there was a lot of music to be heard, things proceeded along quite quickly with the first three artists sharing a band (with some changes set to set), and a quick changeover for the aforementioned Go-Go’s, who closed out the night with a string of classic songs. Definitely a unique opportunity to catch many favorites in one sitting, and I know I thoroughly enjoyed each artist, only half of whom I’d seen live before (though I was already a fan of all four). Awesome show.
“Hey Gina, did you play your brother’s 78s?” The Go-Go’s bass player Jane Wiedlin giving their drummer a hard time as Gina tried to give a preface to their stellar cover of the Rolling Stone’s hit “Paint it Black” by talking about how when you were a kid you would borrow your older brother or sister’s “records or CDs or whatever“. Like co-headliner The B-52s, both bands brought a combination of rock and good fun on stage at Mountain Winery in Saratoga last night, and even shared the stage for one song, contributing to the intimate, party-like atmosphere. I’ve seen both bands in the past 12 months, but it was something special to be treated to their respective New Wave sound on the same night. It was also kind of neat to see members of each band watching each others’ sets from side stage (like Belinda Carlisle fully immersed in The B-52s show and Kate Pierson taking in The Go-Go’s performance). Maybe the combination gave special energy all around, as each put on the best show I’ve seen from either band, so it was a pretty amazing night celebrating some of the best songs from my personal favorite era of music.
The Go-Go’s and The B-52s started touring North America this month, and lucky fans in certain cities will be treated to co-headlining shows featuring both bands. Each innovators in their own right, the groups each have innumerable hits from the past three decades. While both have their own distinct sound of New Wave and pop rock, most of the songs are high energy and positive, and together I imagine create quite a party atmosphere. [Read more…]
So I just saw the B-52s three months ago (to the day) at Ovations Live! in Arizona… and from the experience, knew that I wanted to see them again, at the earliest opportunity. So last night I found myself at Harrah’s South Shore Room at Stateline, Nevada, to more or less repeat the awesome experience from earlier this year. And the band – a favorite of mine since childhood – did not disappoint. Given the differences in the venue – 100% seated at Ovations Live! and with a mix of options at the South Shore Room including a vast GA pit in front of the stage, the latter was a feature that was a huge benefit for experiencing their incredible music live. The set list was also completely rearranged since the last show I attended, so it was very much a fresh and unique experience, and as always they put on a phenomenal show. I’m left wondering, as I write this, when I might get to catch them again.
I have been a fan of the B-52s going back nearly 30 years, finding their music when I was a kid, and being really moved and inspired by their unique and always catchy sound. The thing that most struck me about their concert at the Ovations LIVE! Showroom inside the Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino last night… how their timeless music continues to have the same impact on generation after generation. Within the crowd were a number of kids, just having the time of their lives. And what was really moving for me were the efforts made by the band to not only acknowledge them within the crowd, but literally reach out to them, with members of the band giving them cool mementos to remember this great night, including drum sticks and guitar picks and the like. Because when it comes down to it, as stylishly esoteric and at times irreverent as their music can be, the B-52s are all about celebrating life and doing so in the most positive manner we know how – through great music. And the B-52s continue to deliver after all these years. [Read more…]