I will always remember the first 4 videos that I saw on MTV when my family plugged us in to cable in 1983 – they were:
1. “Love Is A Battlefield” by Pat Benatar
2. “Dancing With Myself” by Billy Idol
3. “Legal Tender” by the B-52s
4. “Borderline” by Madonna
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And now, 25 years after I first saw these songs on MTV, I’ve watched two of these acts live in the past week (Read my Madonna concert review from last week, here).
From the moment that I saw Kate Pierson’s and Cindy Wilson’s beehive hairdos rotating in the Technicolor music video for “Legal Tender” I was officially hooked on this band from Athens, GA (little did I understand at age 7, that this was a song about counterfeiting money – I had no idea what the song was about back then, but I knew that I would go on to worship this band).
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My first reaction when the band came out with their latest album, “Funplex,” in the spring of 2008 was, “They really shouldn’t still be making music this good.”
Unlike Madonna, The B-52s have stayed small and true to their roots and their original identity.
And that was evident in their show at Club Nokia at L.A. Live in downtown LA this past Sunday night.
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Their hour and a half set consisted of a healthy combo of the classics (“Planet Claire,” “Private Idaho”), the crowd-favorites (“Love Shack,” “Rock Lobster”) and their magnificent new songs.
They opened with “Pump,” the high-energy first track from “Funplex” which warmed up the crowd and put everyone in a great mood. They continued soon thereafter with the equally as dynamic “Hot Corner.”
Mid-way into the show, Fred Schneider left for a bit, leaving Cindy and Kate to harmonize together on their latest female-vocals-only collaboration (and current radio single), “Juliet of the Spirits,” and then move into the ever-recognizable “Roam.”
And of course, there was Cindy’s dramatic pause before the infamous line, “Tiiiiiin Roof …. Rusted!” on “Love Shack,” which launched the crowd, young and old alike, into a fit of dancing.
Their big promotional push on this album is over, but The B-52’s still have dates coming up in Hawaii for New Year’s Eve, and in 2009 in Orlando, Vancouver and New Jersey.
I’d be remiss not to mention how beautiful the Club Nokia at L.A. Live venue is. If you’re in LA and get a chance to catch a show here – go! The venue is brand new, intimate (much more so than its NYC equivalent, The Theater at Madison Square Garden), comfortable, and it has amazing acoustics. Usher’s there this Wednesday, but the show is already sold out!
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