Regeneration Tour in Concert
Friday, August 30, 2013
Starring: Andy Bell (of Erasure), Howard Jones, Information Society, Men Without Hats
Songs performed: This War, Antarctica, I Got the Message, I Like, Pop Goes the World, Where Do the Boys Go?, Head Above Water, S.O.S., The Safety Dance (Men Without Hats); Peace & Love Inc., Walking Away, Think, What’s on Your Mind (Pure Energy) (Information Society); Pearl in the Shell, Like to Get to Know You Well, New Song, No One is to Blame, What is Love?, Everlasting Love, Things Can Only Get Better (Howard Jones); When I Start to (Break It Down), Electric Blue, Drama, Always, Breath of Life, Ship of Fools, Stop!, Chorus, Blue Savannah, Chains of Love, DHDQ, A Little Respect (Andy Bell)
Comments: The semi-annual package tour known as the Regeneration Tour brought the 80’s back to the Greek Theatre last Friday night. This year’s edition is featuring Men without Hats, Information Society, Howard Jones and Andy Bell of Erasure. The Human League was originally on the bill, but they were dropped for some reason and replaced with Men Without Hats.
Music from the 1980’s has a special place in my heart and always will. These are the songs and artists that were around when I was becoming an adult and finding my way in the world. The songs I remember hearing on the radio, and dancing to in the clubs. They were all part of the new wave/electronic music scene of the 80’s and 90’s.
First up for the night was Canadian group, Men Without Hats. Led by original singer Ivan Doroschuk, and featuring hunky guitar player James Love and 2 ladies on keyboards. They actually had a decent set length considering they were basically a 2-hit wonder in the US. They played one new song, plus 1 cover song — ABBA’s “S.O.S”, who Ivan claimed were one of his influences. The biggest reactions were for “Pop Goes the World” and “The Safety Dance.” How fun it was to see the crowd dancing and singing along to that one. Ivan has still got some dance moves.
Next up was Information Society from Minneapolis, MN. Led by quirky lead singer Kurt Harland, and featuring 3 musicians on keyboards. They are considered part of the American response to the 2nd British Invasion of the 1980’s. This group made use of the large video screen behind them with elaborate visuals including remixed versions of their past music videos (the screen was also used for the next 2 acts). Kurt commented on how weird it was to see his younger self on screen. I remember my lover had the cassette for their first big album, plus I have the CD for their underappreciated 3rd album. Highlights included: “Think,” “Peace & Love Inc.,” and “What’s on Your Mind (Pure Energy).”
Howard Jones was up next — celebrating 30 years since his first hit “New Song”. I last saw Howard for his 25th anniversary, back in 2008 in Woodland Hills, CA. He was accompanied by a drummer and another keyboardist. The songs still resonated with the crowd. He has crafted some splendid pop gems like “New Song”, “Life in One Day”, “Everlasting Love”, “No One is to Blame” and “Things Can Only Get Better.” The last one was performed twice — once in the original version and than a remixed techno version for the encore.
The closing act of the night was Andy Bell of Erasure. This was my first time seeing him live. He was backed up by a percussionist and a keyboardist, plus 2 drag queen “Fembots” who danced along to the songs too. He came on wearing a leopard print muumuu, showing a green Madonna T-shirt underneath. He then took off the muumuu, showing silver sparkling pants underneath. The T-shirt got ripped off soon after, revealing a sparkling silver and pink tank top. I didn’t realize that the band has had 14 albums, and that a Christmas CD is on the way too. Plus Andy has recorded two solo albums also. So he definitely has a big catalog of songs to choose from. I may not have known all of his songs, but I did enjoy his performance. Here was an openly gay pop singer, doing what he loved to do: sing live for his fans. Highlights on his set included: “Chains of Love,” “Chorus,” “Stop!”, “Always,” and “A Little Respect.” He also sang a song to Debbie Harry called “DHDQ (Debbie Harry Drag Queen)” — one of the most stylish and trend-setting women in music. He also acknowledged that it was an honor to be on the bill with the other artists, and he even sang part of the Human League’s “Love Action” — saying he would love to work with them. Andy came out with his shirt off for the last 2 numbers, the crowd still loved him despite his less than perfect shape.
Thanks to everyone for a great evening of music and memories. Some suggestions for future Regeneration Tours: Bananarama, Thompson Twins, Rick Astley, Heaven 17, Samantha Fox, Adam Ant and Billy Idol.
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 Rock the Kilt lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.