Views on pop culture through my eyes

The B-52s in Concert
Friday, September 11, 2015
Hollywood Bowl

Featuring the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, Thomas Wilkins conductor

Special guests: The Psychedelic Furs

Songs performed: Love My Way, Ghost in You, Pretty in Pink (The Psychedelic Furs); Pump, Mesopotamia, Lava, Dance This Mess Around, Party Out of Bounds, Strobe Light, Private Idaho, Girl from Ipanema Goes to Greenland, Love in the Year 3000, Roam, Planet Claire, Love Shack, Rock Lobster (The B-52s)

Comments: New-wave pioneers The B-52s headlined the Fireworks Finale at the world-famous Hollywood Bowl for 3 shows this past weekend. This the group that came from Athens, Georgia and conquered the world with their fun and funky songs.b52s-950

I first came to love them in high school. I remember getting their self-titled debut album on cassette (back in 1979-80) and playing it out! That album is a classic and set the stage for a career that is going well some 35+ years later.

The band appealed to me at the time; they were different and their songs were funny and catchy. The dressed in retro clothes and marched to beat for their own drummer. I was beginning to question myself and my sexuality at the time. When I finally went to the youth group at the Gay & Lesbian Center (because I realized I was gay), I found others that loved the band as much as I did.

The original lineup consisted of Fred Schneider (lead vocals), Kate Pierson (vocals), Cindy Wilson (vocals and percussion), Ricky Wilson (guitar) and Keith Strickland (guitar, drums). Ricky died of AIDS in 1985; and Keith is not touring with the band anymore — so we got the 3 vocalists with some new backing players.

This show gave us the hits (Roam, Rock Lobster) as well as classic album cuts (Strobe Light, Dance This Mess Around), plus a few songs from their most recent studio album “Fun Plex” which came out in 2008 (Time for a new album if you ask me). No songs were played from the Whammy or Good Stuff albums. With their music showing influences from punk, surf, doo-wop, rockabilly, and more — their sound is definitely one of a kind.

It says something when I hadn’t heard some of these songs in ages, yet I still remembered all the words to them! It was fun to be hearing them live again, and I could dance as crazy as I wanted to! Their voices all sound great, and the interplay between their vocals is one of their hallmarks.

I was surprised that Kate didn’t do anything from her solo album that was released earlier this year.

The Hollywood Bowl orchestra was there to fill out the sound on the final 3 numbers: Planet Claire, Love Shack and Rock Lobster. The fireworks went off during Love Shack and were timed well to the musical cues from the song.

The Psychedelic Furs opened the show. We had seen them before on the Totally 80’s bill a few years back with ABC and the Human League. They were decent. The orchestra also backed them up on some numbers.

Thanks to all for another fun show from one of my all-time favorite party bands.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

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