LIVE: CYNDI LAUPER & BLONDIE – Perth, 12 April, 2017
With The Clouds – Kings Park Botanic Garden
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar
Photography by Peter Gardner
Iconic pop legends Blondie and Cyndi Lauper teamed up for an Australian tour, ending on a startlingly beautiful and clear autumn night in the gorgeous surrounds of Kings Park Botanical Park.
‘90s Indie darlings The Clouds are back with a vengeance, and a new EP, their muscular riffs, hyper catchy hooks, soaring harmonies between singer/guitarist Jodi Phillis and singer/bassist Trish Young, perfectly complemented by their smarter-than-the-average-band lyrics. Hearing new tracks House Of The Sun and Mabel’s Bookshop was a treat, and the wonderful Heironymus – their biggest Indie hit from 1991 – was simply sublime.
Blondie’s Debbie Harry showed the iconic punk spirit she has always been reknowned for, strolling onto the stage wearing a black smock emblazoned with the sparkly silver legend, “STOP FUCKING THE PLANET,” coupled with a bumblebee headband, referencing her environmental concerns and the new Blondie album Pollinator.
The band – featuring original guitarist, and epitome of silver fox cool, Chris Stein, original drummer Clem Burke, twenty-year veteran bassist Leigh Foxx, and a couple of hip young things in guitarist Tommy Kessler, and keys player Matt Katz-Bohen – were razor sharp and in far better form than on their last visit to Perth, when they played the same venue with The Pretenders in 2010.
Starting with the punky One Way Or Another and Hanging On The Telephone – “you don’t have any phone booths?” asks Harry. “We don’t in New York any more either… but we can still do this song!” – she’s full of sass and attitude and self-awareness of her esteemed place in rock and pop history.
“We don’t have all night – Cyndi’s coming up,” Harry declares before launching into a short encore of yet another new track – Too Much – and the ethereal Dreaming.
Remembered by some as the quirky, pink-haired pop diva, her humanitarian work, iconic status amongst the LGBT community, the soundtrack to Broadway musical Kinky Boots and dedicated traditional blues and country albums in recent years, have helped engendered a re-appraisal of Cyndi Lauper’s career, and her performance tonight was a surprising tour de force.
Wanda Jackson’s Funnel Of Love and Patsy Cline’s Walking After Midnight blended seamlessly with her own hits She Bop, I Drove All Night, The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough and Money Changes Everything, all introduced in Lauper’s broad New York accent, and often accompanied with hilariously long stories about motherhood, the Dalai Llama, The Voice, and the mantra, What Would Dolly Parton Do?
Lauper’s vocals are amazing, and she is super cute and energetic throughout, engaging with the audience as if we were hanging out in her living room. Her six-piece band never miss a trick, even when Lauper shouts out altered arrangements to songs as they are about to start.
Just when we all thought it was over and a quarter of the crowd had filed out, she comes back to perform a truly endearing solo version of True Colours, starting out accompanying herself on the dulcimer before finishing the song acapella, accompanied by the audience as one, in a chorus of love and affection and appreciation for a wonderful night.
Set list: The Clouds
Fear The Moon
Bower of Bliss
House of the Sun
Float On Air
Boy of Air
Set List: Blondie
One Way or Another
Hanging on the Telephone
In the Flesh
(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right To Party
Heart of Glass
Set List: Cyndi Lauper
Funnel of Love (Wanda Jackson cover)
I Drove All Night
The End of the World
Walking After Midnight (Patsy Cline cover)
Rain on Me
The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough
You Don’t Know
Money Changes Everything
Time After Time
Girls Just Wanna Have Fun
About the Author: Editor, 100% ROCK MAGAZINE