Don’t let anyone tell you that time machines aren’t real. Music is powerful and has the ability to transcend time. And, the right band can take you anywhere you want to go. You know I’m right too.
On August 20, Boy George and Culture Club did just that. The iconic 1980s band took audiences at Four Winds Casino’s Silver Creek Event Center on a magical journey to and from the decade of excess.
It was amazing! The nine-member group includes original members Roy Hay and Mikey Craig.
It had been a tough few weeks for my friend Kristie and me. We have been friends and gig buddies since I don’t know when. We were already in the car and ready to rock our 80s when the gig was announced. It’s not often you get to see Culture Club, let alone in a casino.
Anticipation heightened as the lights went out. A montage of flashy images and past music videos of Boy George and Culture Club aired before the group emerged. Energetic and pumped, the band kicked off with the awesome new track “The Next Thing Will Be Amazing”. Boy George appeared at the top of a flight of stairs, causing the already standing crowd to roar with excitement at the pop culture icon.
It can be risky for a band to play a new track for their opener, but this song rocked and was well received. The fun and upbeat song prepared the sold-out crowd for a night of fun, memories and good times.
Seeing Boy George in person was like a dream come true. When you think of the 80s and all the singers who made the decade so prolific, Boy George is right there with Michael Jackson, Madonna, Prince, Duran Duran and George Michael, among others.
“It’s A Miracle”, “I’ll Tumble 4 Ya” and “Move Away” followed. Nostalgia took over. It was so fun to see people from all walks of life dancing and singing. That’s what I mean when I say music is powerful. For nearly 90 minutes, no one worried about gas prices, inflation, his job, or any other issue.
I was impressed by Boy George’s sympathetic side. He’s such a nice guy. Between songs, he opened up about his musical influences, his life, music and the world around us.
Some newer tracks performed quite well during the show, to which Boy George said, “You can hear one of our new songs for the first time and know it’s a Culture Club song.” He was so right. Looking around you would have thought they were among the songs that topped the charts in the early to mid 80s.
The reggae-infused “Hold Back” was fun, as was “Eyeliner Voodoo” and the hard-hitting “Planetary Karma.” Boy George also added his cover of the Bread classic “Everything I Own”.
The highlights of the night were many, but one of the standout moments came with “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me”, the song that started it all for the London-based band in 1981. Boy George told the audience that at the time they felt the song was too personal and no one would buy it.
“150 million albums later, I guess I was wrong,” he said.
He performed the song a capella before being joined by exquisite piano, acoustic guitar, sax and backing vocals. It was ethereal and moving. The only thing that could have made this moment better was if it had followed up with “The Crying Game”. Unfortunately, this song did not make it to the set list.
“Church Of The Poison Mind” garnered an incredible response from the audience. The song was performed as a medley with a cover of Wham’s “Freedom”.
The 16-song set also included gems such as “Time (Clock Of The Heart)”, “Miss Me Blind” and “The War Song”, but there was no way they would leave New Buffalo without performing their greatest hit. The band returned as an encore to perform “Karma Chameleon”. It was mind blowing how awesome this moment was for us. To top it all off, the band launched into “Bang a Gong (Get It On)” by T-Rex/The Power Station. Microphone drop!
David T. Farr is a Journal correspondent. Email him at [email protected].