Time travel was the theme of the night at the B-52s’ Greek Theatre show with Boy George. There was an enthusiastic crowd looking to go back to a time when things were a bit more carefree. A time before we all had cellphones or even an email address and you really could escape your life on the dance floor where no one could reach you (that you weren’t already out with). The night started out under a heavy pink sky that was threatening rain but Fred Schneider of the B-52s later let everyone in that they had prayed to the right god and goddess and kept the rain at bay.
Headlining the night at he Greek Theatre was the severely charismatic Boy George and the Culture Club. They were joined by 80’s dance music favs The B-52s and opening the evening was Tom Bailey, founding member and lead singer of the Thompson Twins. Bailey has a new album, “Science Fiction” that is bringing him back out on tour and he mixed selections with it with club favorites like “Hold Me Now” which was the hit that closed his set.
The B-52s. Started their set by bring out a man in a spacesuit with a sign that asked the audience to put away their cellphones and dance! A video montage of clips of the bands history starting from Athens, Georgia in 1976 welcomed the band onto the stage. Cindy Wilson led the way in a skin tight shiny mermaid dress and the band’s namesake blonde beehive hairdo. Fred Schneider looked like he just got done working his shift directing traffic in the Greek’s parking lots. Last but not least of the three original members (Keith Strickland no longer tours although he is still considered a member) was electric red headed Kate Pierson who shimmied out in a shimmering dress that reflected light like a disco ball. They kicked off the night with “Planet Claire” and “Give me Back My Man” there were moments when it seemed the band was a bit over some of the songs but the crowd most certainly wasn’t. Fred Schneider “pulled back the curtain of time” as they took the Greek back to “Mesopotamia” and talked about how 40 years ago their friend made a list of “52 Girls” and they put music to it. When asked if the crowd was “ready to dance and ready to shake it” they responded with dancing their mess around. “Love Shack” was a tease with the classic “Bang on the Door” moment interrupted with a cover of lowrider and their set finished of with an actual dancing rock lobster and Fred asking everyone to vote progressive because we “want to move forward not backwards”.
Sadly Boy George and his Culture Club allowed no photography during his set which was a shame because he looked amazing! Slimmed down dressed all in back with his glittering trademark hat and an impeccable smokey eye. George mentioned that there was a ton of drama happening backstage due to “the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” being there and proposed a show called the “Real Aliens of Space” in which he could star. He relentlessly teased the LA crowd for being too cool for school and asked that everyone surrender and lose themselves. He gave a shout out to David Bowie and opened his set with a cover of “Lets Dance” and called out an audience member named Joy who he randomly selected to pester the rest of the night. He said that he was very into audience participation and you made a mistake if you set up front and didnt want to be part of the show. The band played all the hits and gave love advice: like if you weren’t there with someone you loved, the problem might be you. You have to open up to being lovable, something Boy George seems to have mastered as he was unabashedly charming. Gladys Knight was brought out as a surprise guest and sang “Runaway Train” with a clearly awestruck Boy George. George made dad jokes saying before covering Bread’s “Everything I own” that he knows most of the LA audience are carb free but “Get over it!” His banter between songs was as entertaining as his classic hits as he casually danced his “own choreography-Eat it Beyoncé” and he felt he was melting the weird audience’s cool exteriors but all his storytelling and joking around ran into the Greeks hard curfew which he lamented was the curse of rock and roll. George came back after the encore in a new white outfit and told everyone that he was just going to ignore the curfew. The Crenshaw choir came out to join “Light” as the whole venue was lit up with cellphone lights and after there was a cover of “Addicted to Love”. The last song of the set was of course Karma Chameleon which pushed six minutes past the hard end time because Boy George has never let anyone make rules for him and that is why we love him.
Words & Photography: ZB Images