It’s almost with a sense of embarrassment that I have to admit that I’ve never seen Culture Club perform before. Despite the classic songs and the fact that they were huge “back then”, the opportunity never presented itself.
So I was looking forward to heading to Scarborough last night to see them perform at the Open Air Theatre.
Culture Club exploded onto the music scene in 1982 with a unique fusion of music, fashion and art. They were led by Boy George, a charismatic presence who was always reliable for a media-friendly quote that often rubbed other pop stars the wrong way.
Currently undertaking a short series of outdoor gigs, the band consisted of George – always an eye-catching presence with his striking makeup, clothes and headwear – and original members guitarist/keyboardist Roy Hay and bassist Mikey Craig. These three were supported by a group of eleven musicians which included four singers.
It soon became apparent that George’s voice had lost none of its range or power. Indeed, it may be better than ever with a deep lower range perfectly suited for soulful numbers like Hold Back the Feeling, Time and Victims.
Audiences clad in waterproof ponchos responded enthusiastically to hits such as Church Of The Poisoned Mind, I’ll Tumble 4 Ya, It’s a Miracle and Do You Really Want To Hurt Me and George easily persuaded the crowd to sing along with a Bread’s cover. Everything I own.
Songs such as Drop the Needle, Lift Your Head Up and especially Swoon were proof that the new material sounded promising.
With a smile on his face throughout the show, George chatted amiably with the audience as if they were old friends. Much of his life has been an actual soap opera, but the George on stage in Scarborough was relaxed, full of fun and at ease with the world. He was talkative, endearing and had a good sense of humor.
A terrific encore included a cover of David Bowie’s The Man Who Sold The World, the monster hit Karma Chameleon and an extended cover of T Rex’s Get It On.
Next up in Scarborough is Nile Rodgers and Chic on Friday August, which incidentally will also headline the following night at Hardwick Live in Sedgefield. Safe to say, good times are guaranteed at times.