Sunday, June 05, 2011

Review: Go-Go's Mark 30th Anniversary of First Album with NYC Concert

The Go-Go's at Irving Plaza: Charlotte Caffey, Belinda Carlisle, Kathy Valentine, Jane Wiedlin. (Not seen: Gina Schock, on drums).

It's been 30 years since the Go-Go's first album, "Beauty and the Beat," and Friday night they returned to New York, the city where it was recorded. Despite all the years that have passed, the Go-Go's still sound great. Belinda Carlisle's voice is still in fine shape, and the playing sounds as good as ever. Friday's show sounded as good as the last Go-Go's show I saw, at the Nokia Theatre Times Square, which was to mark the 25th anniversary of "Beauty and the Beat" (and which featured the band playing the album start to finish).

After an opening set by the Dollyrots (whose song "Because I'm Awesome" I've been a fan of for the last nine months or so), the Go-Go's took the stage and kicked things off with "Vacation." Though it's one of their biggest hits, it was one of only a few songs from that album that the band played. Most of "Beauty and the Beat" found its way into the setlist, and I was glad to hear not just the hits but tunes like "How Much More" and "Skidmarks on My Heart." (I would have been even happier to hear "Can't Stop the World," but I'll live.)

Belinda Carlisle, Kathy Valentine, and Jane Wiedlin.
A few songs you won't find on a Go-Go's album: a cover of Carlisle's "Mad About You" ("Go-Go-fied," as the band put it); "Cool Places," which guitarist Jane Wiedlin recorded with Sparks; and the Rolling Stones' "Mother's Little Helper," which they said they played because it was older than their songs. The band also played "Surfing and Spying" (an old B-side) and "Fun with Ropes," which had been previously unreleased until the "Return to the Valley of the Go-Go's" album.

"Talk Show," which I've always felt was a very good and underappreciated album, was represented by just one song, the single "Head Over Heels" (which Wiedlin said was her favorite Go-Go's song).

 The band seemed to be having a ball, and I hope this means that they will keep an open mind to continuing their tour or staging another one. These ladies can still rock.

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UPDATE: The Go-Go's had to postpone two gigs (official statement) after the NYC show (Atlantic City and Foxwoods Casino) because Belinda Carlisle had vocal problems and was advised by a doctor to rest her voice. You can check the official Go-Go's Twitter account (@officialgogos) for updates. No word yet on when the Go-Go's will reschedule these dates. The tour will resume tomorrow in Westbury, NY.

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