Boy George doesn’t demand that you dance to a Culture Club concert, but it’s hard not to.
“It’s okay if you sit down, but … only you can break free,” he told the crowd at Chevy Park at the New York State Fair on Tuesday night, just before playing a flavored cover. reggae from “Everything I Own” by Bread. (with the line “free me, free me”). A few people remained seated, but most were lost in the music.
It was a smaller and slightly less enthusiastic crowd than the one that came to see Culture Club at Chevy Court in 2016. The reunited British pop band’s return was hampered by rain, which delayed the start of their performance. ‘about 30 minutes and forced the NYS Fair to close the rides halfway around 5 p.m. – but Boy George won’t let a cloud rain down on his parade.
“Bless you” for withstanding the rain, the singer told the audience. “You know, the rain… is a miracle.”
If you haven’t figured it out yet, many songs were introduced with lyrical references or titles like “It’s a Miracle”. Before “Hold Back,” Boy George spoke about love and relationships: “When it comes to feelings, never hold anything back.” It would be corny if he wasn’t so irresistibly charming.
Boy George, dressed in a monochromatic suit and hat accented by fabulous eye makeup, constantly strutted, blinked and had fun on stage, backed by original Culture Club members Mikey Craig on bass. and guitarist-keyboardist Roy Hay. The group also included two drummers, a synthesizer, a saxophonist and three backing vocalists.
“We are Culture Club,” Boy George said. “I guess what we do is sing sad songs that put you in a good mood.”
Few jobs have a more specific description. The wet crowd was certainly in high spirits for Culture Club favorites like “I’ll Tumble 4 Ya”, “Church of Poison Mind” and “Time (Clock of the Heart)”, and the band did impressively.” The Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil” sounds like his as Boy George flirted with the crowd: “Please let me… say hello to you.
The setlist also included songs they hadn’t performed in 2016, like the new “The Next Thing Will Be Amazing” (which opened the show) and “Planetary Karma”, as well as Boy George’s recent solo single. “Voodoo Eyeliner”. They also played a slower, more emotional version of “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me” with a killer sax solo; it would have made a great song to hold the cellphone lights in the crowd, but everyone expected the beat to drop and the tempo to pick up.
Boy George, the 61-year-old leader born George O’Dowd, joked about oversharing, aging and lessons learned. He struggled with drug addiction for years and was arrested for heroin possession the same year the band broke up in 1986.
“I’m not the person I was in 1982 anymore. Thank God!” he exclaimed.
The evening ended with the Culture Club’s biggest hit, “Karma Chameleon”, and a fun cover of T. Rex’s “Bang a Gong (Get It On)”. Again, they’ve kind of made another band’s song their own, turning the classic 70s boogie rock into an 80s dance party.
The 90-minute show flew by too quickly, so let’s hope we don’t have to wait another six years for Culture Club to return to the New York State Fair.
List of Boy George & Culture Club sets
August 30 at New York State Fair, Syracuse, NY
The next thing will be amazing
It’s a miracle
I’ll fall 4 Ya
To hold onto
All I Own (Bread Blanket)
Do you really want to hurt me
Church of the Poisoned Mind / I’m Your Man
Time (Heart Clock)
Miss Me Blind
Sympathy for the Devil (Rolling Stones cover)
Bang a Gong (Get It On) (T.Rex cover)
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