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LIVE: CYNDI LAUPER & BLONDIE – Perth, 12 April, 2017

| 14 April 2017 | Reply

LIVE: CYNDI LAUPER & BLONDIE – Perth, 12 April, 2017
With The Clouds – Kings Park Botanic Garden
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar
Photography by Peter Gardner

Iconic pop legends Blondie and Cyndi Lauper teamed up for an Australian tour, ending on a startlingly beautiful and clear autumn night in the gorgeous surrounds of Kings Park Botanical Park.

‘90s Indie darlings The Clouds are back with a vengeance, and a new EP, their muscular riffs, hyper catchy hooks, soaring harmonies between singer/guitarist Jodi Phillis and singer/bassist Trish Young, perfectly complemented by their smarter-than-the-average-band lyrics. Hearing new tracks House Of The Sun and Mabel’s Bookshop was a treat, and the wonderful Heironymus – their biggest Indie hit from 1991 – was simply sublime.

Blondie’s Debbie Harry showed the iconic punk spirit she has always been reknowned for, strolling onto the stage wearing a black smock emblazoned with the sparkly silver legend, “STOP FUCKING THE PLANET,” coupled with a bumblebee headband, referencing her environmental concerns and the new Blondie album Pollinator.

The band – featuring original guitarist, and epitome of silver fox cool, Chris Stein, original drummer Clem Burke, twenty-year veteran bassist Leigh Foxx, and a couple of hip young things in guitarist Tommy Kessler, and keys player Matt Katz-Bohen – were razor sharp and in far better form than on their last visit to Perth, when they played the same venue with The Pretenders in 2010.

Starting with the punky One Way Or Another and Hanging On The Telephone – “you don’t have any phone booths?” asks Harry. “We don’t in New York any more either… but we can still do this song!” – she’s full of sass and attitude and self-awareness of her esteemed place in rock and pop history.

Six tracks previewed from the forthcoming new record include Fun, My Monster, Fragments and Gravity – all instantly catchy and enjoyable, but a couple more old favourites would have been preferred, rather than more than half of a new record no-one has heard. It’s the hits people wanted to dance to, and dance they did, to In The Flesh, Rapture (with its perfect appropriation of the then-nascent rap culture into pop), Atomic, and the pop perfection of Heart Of Glass.

“We don’t have all night – Cyndi’s coming up,” Harry declares before launching into a short encore of yet another new track – Too Much – and the ethereal Dreaming.

Remembered by some as the quirky, pink-haired pop diva, her humanitarian work, iconic status amongst the LGBT community, the soundtrack to Broadway musical Kinky Boots and dedicated traditional blues and country albums in recent years, have helped engendered a re-appraisal of Cyndi Lauper’s career, and her performance tonight was a surprising tour de force.

Wanda Jackson’s Funnel Of Love and Patsy Cline’s Walking After Midnight blended seamlessly with her own hits She Bop, I Drove All Night, The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough and Money Changes Everything, all introduced in Lauper’s broad New York accent, and often accompanied with hilariously long stories about motherhood, the Dalai Llama, The Voice, and the mantra, What Would Dolly Parton Do?

Lauper’s vocals are amazing, and she is super cute and energetic throughout, engaging with the audience as if we were hanging out in her living room. Her six-piece band never miss a trick, even when Lauper shouts out altered arrangements to songs as they are about to start.

She starts her first encore with a heartfelt story about helping reforestation efforts in Kenya, the story interrupted by disrespectful drunken buffoons, and then launches into an amazingly transformed Time After Time, played on a dulcimer. Lauper will always be linked with her biggest hit, of course, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, and here it caps off an incredible night of pop rock – starting as a slow blues, before segueing in to the irrepressible pop classic we all know and love. Lauper’s sheer delight is obvious as the entire crowd, on their feet, are divided into three sections and conducted in simultaneous, different singalongs.

Just when we all thought it was over and a quarter of the crowd had filed out, she comes back to perform a truly endearing solo version of True Colours, starting out accompanying herself on the dulcimer before finishing the song acapella, accompanied by the audience as one, in a chorus of love and affection and appreciation for a wonderful night.

Set list: The Clouds
Fear The Moon
Bower of Bliss
Renee’s Problems
House of the Sun
Mabel’s Bookshop
Float On Air
Say It
The Edge
Boy of Air

Set List: Blondie
One Way or Another
Hanging on the Telephone
Call Me
My Monster
In the Flesh
(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right To Party
Long Time
Heart of Glass

Too Much

Set List: Cyndi Lauper
Funnel of Love (Wanda Jackson cover)
She Bop
I Drove All Night
The End of the World
Walking After Midnight (Patsy Cline cover)
Rain on Me
The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough
You Don’t Know
Money Changes Everything

Time After Time
Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

Encore 2:
True Colors

Category: Live Reviews, Photo Galleries

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Editor, 100% ROCK MAGAZINE

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