Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Cyndi Lauper - She's So Extraordinary 

The Girl and I ventured down to the South Shore Music Circus in Cohassett last night, for the Cyndi Lauper concert Live...At Last.

She rocked, she crooned, she belted, she swayed, she stood on seats in the crowd, she danced on the piano, she made us laugh, she made us cry. All this and the poor thing had a cold! Didn't seem to slow her down or limit her voice whatsoever. It was an amazing evening.

The band came on the stage in darkness, so we couldn't see them until they started the first number, At Last. This is the title track from her latest CD and the tour itself. On the CD cover she looks the chanteuse: black evening gown, full length gloves, perfect coiffe. The music starts. Violins, romantic groove, torch song feel, and the lights come on as she belts out the first notes - and she's wearing tight leather pants, a black lace-up corset over a black hoodie, and her hair is basic unkempt grunge. The contrast was fabulous!!! She's got the pipes AND the attitude. The crowd was instantly screaming and cheering, and she seemed to pour everything she had into this number. And yet she still had infinitely more for the rest of the night.

On the second number she kicked off her shoes, literally, and performed barefoot for the duration of the concert. She then goes out into the audience, climbs into the center of a row and stands up on the arms of a seat. She rocked the crowd from there, paying extra attention to the many preadolescent girls who were in attendance, much to their shrieking delight. She repeated this audience foray a number of times, and visited every section.

Between numbers she would often simply quietly thank us for our response, have some water and onto the next. Everyone "awww"-ed when some kids brought her bouquets of roses, which she carefully placed on the piano. A few times she would talk a bit about the stories behind some of the new arrangements. One new arrangement she introduced by saying she had been thinking about it, and it struck her that really it's a torch song, kind of french bistro. The keyboard player picked up an accordion and started in on a lovely little period waltz, such as you would expect to have heard in Paris in 1938. I thought perhaps it was going to be La Vie En Rose, but I was mistaken. As Lauper started in on the song, I didn't recognize it right away, until she got to the line about the pages of a Blue Boy magazine. Yes, it was She Bop, and it was fantastic.

She also modified Walk On By, edging it up and making it darker than on the CD. Apparently this new arrangement is on the DVD, though. It was like something Tim Burton would use in one of his movies. And again, it was awesome.

Later in the show she did stop to talk for a while, before singing True Colors. She talked about her close friend who died from AIDS, and reminded everyone, particularly young people, that you need to be safe. She pointed out that one of the qualities of youth is a feeling that you're untouchable, but the truth is that you're not. She then draped a rainbow flag around her shoulders and talked about when her sister and various friends came out, and that she is an active PFLAG member, and that we are all different and unique and thank god for that. Apparently various industry wonks try to get her to describe "her audience" to them, and she can't, "because it's everyone." And that was no exaggeration. This audience had everyone you could imagine: children, elderly, middle of the road middle agers, rockers, lounge afficionados, gay men and lesbians, goths, preppies, yuppies, vacationers, people dressed up, people in ripped up jeans, and even some women emulating the At Last cover outfit of evening gown and long gloves. Everyone rocked, clapped, cheered, hooted and hollered. The Girl and I had tears already by the time she launched into True Colors.

So to wrap it up - the show was excellent. If the tour is coming to a venue near you, take the night off and get there. If you can't make it, she's also made a concert DVD - I might just pick it up as well.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:28 AM