Back in 1980, the B-52’s played on Saturday Night Live. I was in awe !!! My parents walked in from a night of Bridge (snore) right when they started playing their second song. What is that?, my mother asked. The question was rhetorical.
I went out and bought their album the next day. It started an almost 30 year love of their music.
In 1989, I think Jon and I were the only ones out on the dance floor at the Garage when “Channel Z” was played. Well, Charlie, the Nosferatu-ish waiter from Rigsby’s was also out there. But that was it.
Well, we (Denton and myself….no Jon) went to go see the B-52’s the other night. Tuesday, it was.
In my post when I bought the tickets, I lamented on how it would either be brilliant or horrid and probably no in between. I was kind of right and kind of wrong.
When they were good they were very good. When they weren’t they were blah, but never horrid. I fully cop to the fact that their new stuff feel fairly flat but the nostalgic stuff was really well done.
It wasn’t their playing or singing. Really, only Keith Strickland played. Sure, Cindy did the bongos, Kate the moroccas? and Fred once played the glockenspiel. I’m not sure that qualifies them as “musicians”. What happened to the day when Kate was their keyboardist?
As for their singing, it shouldn’t really amaze me (or anyone) that those voices are not studio created. So they were strong and exactly how you expected them to sound – just like their recordings.
I think where they fell flat was just timing. They weren’t horribly active on stage, just little go-go dances (mostly by Kate). Denton mentioned afterward, ‘they started strong, but kind of lost steam near the end’ – which was true. I had to remind him that some of them are probably close to 60 (!!) now.
They played almost all the songs I had hoped for – “Mesopotamia”, “Planet Claire”, “Strobe Light”, “Private Idaho, “Party out of Bounds” (eh!), and an unexpected “Give Me Back My Man” – which I loved. Of course, they did their big big hits too: “Love Shack”, “Rock Lobster”, “Channel Z” and “Roam” (misty want to). Any songs from Bouncing off the Satellites and Whammy! were completely overlooked. And no “Dance This Mess Around”. That was a shame.
For an unofficial Album of the Month entry – I’m not thrilled with most of the stuff on Funplex. You can’t just put the words “shimmy” or “shake” in a song to make it fun or hip. I do like “Juliet of the Spirits”, but mostly because it is just Kate and Cindy – and oh, how I do love how they harmonize. But c’mon: “Love in the Year 3000”?? Lame. …and not the gold kind.
As for the title track, I just keep singing the word “funplex” to “love shack” – “fun plex, baby fun plex….”. The disk does have its moments, but there is entirely too much Fred on the disk. WAY too much.
And speaking of – at some point early in the concert, I had this thought of, ‘oh wouldn’t this have been fun years ago on Ecstasy’. I thought a lot about how back in the day, Jon and Morty and myself would have been into it. Then I had the unfortunate encounter with two guys who stood next to me who were clearly on X….possibly coke, but the latter doesn’t sustain this behaviour without repeated administrations (or so I’ve heard). Anyway, their antics were not pretty….just annoying. I’m sure I wouldn’t have acted that way! Lordy, I hope not.
But one of those guys – and mind you he was in his late 30s, or just had a really rough life – SCREAMED through the entire show: “FREDDDDDDDDDDD. FREDDDDDD, I love you!!!” eeek. Disturbing on so many levels.
The set was quick – with almost half of the songs coming from Funplex. The show started at 9p. When I looked at the clock in the car (I rarely wear a watch), it was 10:45. And it was at least a 5 minute walk to the car and we had stopped to pee and I didn’t look at the car clock until we were halfway home – which is about another 10minutes. So maybe 80 minutes tops for the show?
Anyway, I am glad I went. From 150 yards away, they looked good and sounded like you think they would. I’d do it again, but maybe on a weekend night where I could get drunk.
If they end up in your town, it’s worth the ticket.
Song by: the B-52’s