The best 80’s tour of the year stopped at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, CA on Oct. 3. This special tour brings together three groups the 80's would not exist without. Boy George & Culture Club, The B-52s and Thompson Twins’ Tom Bailey played a show full of hits that were key part of music in the 80’s.
This was my first time seeing Tom Bailey live and it was a lot of fun to see him switch between keyboards, guitar, and vocals. Bailey was accompanied by a three-piece female band of keys, drums, and bass. Although it’s been 32 years since the Thompson Twins’ classic lineup played, their music is just as popular today as it was back then. Thompson Twins scored 4 number one hits on the U.S. dance charts. Bailey performed mostly Thompson Twin songs like “Doctor! Doctor!,” “Hold Me Now,” and “In the Name of Love.”
Following Bailey was none other than the B-52s, which after 42 years still have four of their original members since their original guitarist Ricky Wilson passed in 1985. B-52s consists of their original three vocalists Fred Schneider, Kate Pierson, and Cindy Wilson. Original drummer Keith Strickland remains a member although he retired touring six years ago. Their touring band is drummer Sterling Campbell a member of almost 20 years (1992-2000 and 2007-present), bassist Tracy Wormworth a member of 26 years, and their newest members Greg Suran (since 2013) and keyboardist Ken Maiuri (since 2016). The B-52s took us to another universe with their first song “Claire’s Planet,” which came after an intro video filled with the group’s archives. Just like Culture Club, the B-52s are the type of band that is just one big party. From Pierson and Wilsons beehive style hair and Schneider’s bright construction vest, their iconic style is all there after so many years. They performed all the hits including “Funplex,” “Roam,” “Love Shack,” and “Rock Lobster," which included someone dressed in a Lobster costume dancing around.
Closing the show was a band that in five years put out four essential 80’s albums. Culture Club stopped at the Greek Theatre three years ago for two nights during their first big tour as the original band in three decades. This was my first time seeing them without drummer Jon Moss and the band being named Boy George and Culture Club rather than just Culture Club. As always the band has a great wardrobe. With Boy George’s idol being David Bowie, it was fitting the band opened up with “Let’s Dance,” and the first time I saw them “Starman” was in the encore. Every song of the show was a hit from “I’ll Tumble 4 Ya,” to “Time” (Clock of the Heart), and “Miss Me Blind.” Half-way through the set (pre-encore) George brought out a big musical hero of his to perform “Runaway Train” with him and it was none another than Gladys Knight who with her group the Pips were one of Motown’s top artists in the 60’s.
It’s been 34 years since Culture Club was named Best New Artist at the Grammys and they are as big as ever now. Culture Club’s four-song encore included covers of Robert Palmer’s “Addicted to Love,” Aretha Franklin’s “Chain of Fools,” a new song “Life,” and the final song was “Karma Chameleon.” The U.S. tour ended Oct. 7, but the band has dates in the UK throughout November and Europe from Nov. 25 to Dec. 8. On Oct. 26 the band will release their first new album in almost 20 years titled Life.