Live at the True Colors Tour
I'm still trying to process everything from the True Colors 2008 Tour, which landed Tuesday night at Radio City Music Hall for nearly five hours. (That's right...five hours!) Although I had originally come to see my hometown girls tear it up, I was astonished to find so much varied and accomplished musicality on the bill; beyond an equality-rights event, it was a music happening unto itself. (There were also a LOT of straight people, including a fortysomething drunk couple sitting in front of us who couldn't decide whether they wanted to dance or stick tongues down each others' throats. I don't mind heterosexuals, but why do they have to flaunt it all the time? Can't they just do it in private, where it belongs?)
The evening started with a set from The Cliks, who rocked the early arrivals; I was only familiar with them from their videos on Logo, but those do them a disservice...they sounded like The Go-Go's on steroids. (Fab!) Arguably the most musically excellent set came from the Indigo Girls, who were next. Amy and Emily's voices still sound lyrical and vibrant, and no one plays guitar better. (It was thrilling to see so many gay men who actually knew all the words to Indigo songs! "Galileo," "Kid Fears" and "Closer To Fine" were practically singalongs!)
Regina Spektor was the final act before intermission; I dig her singles, but honestly, her frail-voice and her cabaret style were swallowed inside the vastness of Radio City. (At least she was better than "host" Carson Kressley, whose lame sex jokes in between sets reminded me how out of step he is with modern gay America. He's like Paul Lynde, only not as current.)
After intermission, the headliners and some unexpected special guests kicked it, beginning with my beloved B-52's. They can still shake it like it's 1989, and if anything, they've improved their live sound since the last time I saw them many moons ago. (Oh, a quick sidebar -- all of the photos here were taken by my sister from another mister, the divine Roger C, who looks drunk in his Facebook pic from the concert, but at the time was not so. Love you, sweetheart!)
If I'm being totally honest, the B-52's played a few too many tracks from their new disc, Funplex, at the expense of their back catalog. But how can anyone complain about that, really? "Juliet of the Spirits," "Hot Corner" and "Funplex" are great new additions to the B's repertoire, and anytime you can hear perfectly-rendered versions of "Mesopotamia," "Private Idaho," "Roam," "Love Shack" and "Rock Lobster," you're in queer dance heaven. (And by the way, Cindy Wilson looks AMAZING, and Keith Strickland is still smoking hot.)
A surprise set by Margaret Cho, who wasn't on the bill, was a sexy highlight; it made a great booked to an earlier (if more political) set by Kate Clinton.
Rosie O'Donnell began five minutes of standup with some jokes, before diverting into personal revelations about her mother and her children that turned into a dramatic monologue. I know a lot of people hate Rosie, but to me, she's a hero...she's taken the worst that the world can dish out to a gay woman, and she's still standing. Love you, Ro.
And then there was Cyndi. I've never seen her perform live before, and for most of her set, I was slackjawed. She's a phenomenal performer, a true artist in every sense of the word. She maneuvered her band through unconventional arrangements of her hits and some new songs, before coming to, for me, the evening's greatest moment: a duet with John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Shortbus) on "Midnight Radio," the 11-o'clock power ballad from Hedwig. I was dazzled, thrilled, overwhelmed, and moved enough to shed some tears. Great artists can do that to me. Don't take my word for it...here's the ending from Tuesday night.
And suddenly -- or rather, five hours later -- it was over. Everyone came back on stage (hauling oversized balloons, which they threw into the audience) and sang a group variation on "True Colors," which was a bit overwrought but totally in keeping with the spirit of the evening. (All of the money raised goes to gay equality organizations.) If you get a chance to grab tickets in other cities, you definitely, definitely, definitely should go.