Culture Club deliver a great show with a party vibe

IMG_0692 Culture Club Boy George

Culture Club | HBF Stadium Perth | June 8th 2016 | ★ ★ ★ ★ 1/2

Culture Club played the second show of their Australian tour at Perth’s HBF stadium. Playing a mix of their greatest hits, fan favourites and new tracks from their forthcoming album.

The evening kicked off with a set from Australian band Kids in the Kitchen. Lead singer Scott Carne joked about going from being a rock star to a guy who drops his kids off at school while hearing his tunes on the radio.

The band worked their way through their hits from their two albums, the popular ‘Shine’ from 1985, and the less successful ‘Terrain’ – which was released two years later. The band played ‘Current Stand’, ‘Something That You Said’, ‘Say It’, ‘Change in Mood’, the haunting ‘My Life’ and many others.

From the moment Culture Club took to the stage the crowd were on their feet and they rarely sat down during the rest of the show. Launching into ‘Church of the Poison Mind’ the band immediately showed that they were in fine form as the four original members were joined by extra percussionists, keyboard players, backing singers and a horn section.

IMG_0699 Culture Club Boy GeorgeBoy George dazzled the audience appearing in a hot pink frock coat emblazoned with naughts and crosses, hugs and kisses. His signature hat perfectly matching the outfit.

“It’s a Miracle’ followed as George welcomed the crowd and promised a show filled with their “familiar battle hymns”.

While the return of Culture Club and Kids in the Kitchen filled the crowd with nostalgia, Boy George reminded the audience that the ’80s ended in 1990.

“You can only be who you are now” he declared.

‘I’ll Tumble 4 Ya’ kept the crowd dancing before the band introduced one of their new songs from their forthcoming album ‘Tribes’.

‘Like I Used To’ was a funk filled jam with the insightful line ‘I don’t do emotion, like I used to’. The tune possibly a nod to the settled lives the band now lead after a roller coaster career filled with ups and downs, fights, and drug challenges.

The funky tune kept the audience grooving, George saying the show was going to be “hip shaking glitter dust hint of the ’80s poptastic extravaganza’ as the lead singer showed off his own dance moves.

George’s first solo hit, a cover of Bread’s 1972 song ‘Everything I Own’ was followed by another new tune ‘Let Somebody Love You’. The solid reggae track was performed to a back drop of classic black and white romantic movies.

Backing singer Theresa Bailey joined Boy George for a performance of ‘Black Money’ from the band’s ‘Colour By Numbers’ album. George named checked Helen Terry, the tracks original singer, as the pair performed the duet which is a fan favorite.

Things took a more somber tone as the band moved into ‘Victims’ which featured a emotion provoking lighting display as Roy Hay moved from the guitar onto the piano.

‘Move Away’ from the band’s fourth album returned the crowd to dancing mode, before another new track was offered. Boy George joked that they say there’s somebody for everybody, before noting that in his experience it hadn’t been true. ‘Human Zoo’ was a laid back adult contemporary track that was one of the night’s more sedate moments.

IMG_0647 Culture Club

Not ones to let the party lull for long, the band quickly returned to their hits, knocking out ‘Time (Clock of the Heart) and George’s massive solo hit ‘The Crying Game’.

“Are you feeling funky?” Boy George called out. “Are you feeling it in your Sly Stones? Your Nina Simones? Your Rolling Stones?” the singer asked before performing the new track ‘Different Man’  The song, sounding a lot like a tune from Sly and the Family Stone, was backed by images of the funk band leader.

The show reached a high point with ‘Miss Me Blind’ and the audience that sprinkled with Boy George look-a-likes cheered and danced along. New tune ‘Runaway Train’ was an unexpected detour into the realm of country music with many people scratching their heads at the energetic hoedown.

The band signed off with the song that gave them their big break in the music business ‘Do You Really Want to Hurt Me’.

An encore quickly followed featuring the band’s most recent single ‘More Than Silence’, the classic sing-a-long ‘Karma Chameleon’ and two nods to the band influences. First T-Rex’s thumping ‘Get It On’ and a poignant tribute to David Bowie as Culture Club finished with ‘Starman’.

While I’d seen Kids in the Kitchen play before, OMG – a little over 30 years ago! This was my first time seeing Culture Club. They were in fine form, showing not only do they have a massive number of well loved tunes from the past but a great new album waiting in the wings too.

This show was a lot of fun, but you have to question why the promoters decided to make it an all seated show? Given that the people on the main floor never sat down from the start of the show to the end. If it had been a General Standing Area – the dance floor would have been amazing.

Graeme Watson, photographs Stephanie Lane.

 

 

 

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