There are some stars that shine brighter than others. When it comes to Boy George and Culture Club, their light eclipses the rest and permanently sits in a commanding position where their glow never dims. Then, when you cross paths, that light envelops and elevates you, making you feel like you’re up there, beaming with them as well. Such are the intense feelings of love and respect for this band that they can still sell out concerts across the globe and Sydney was in for a big treat on this chilly Spring evening.
Celebrating 40 amazing years of music on this Greatest Hits Tour, it’s party central whenever Culture Club hits town. When I first read about it, all I could think of was my treasured Colour By Numbers vinyl that I received for my 8th birthday back in 1983 (which I still have, of course) and how my unsuspecting migrant Mother thought Boy George was a ‘very pretty girl’ (RIP Angie). Although it feels like a different time now, when you hear these Culture Club songs, you are taken back to one of the pleasures in life, which is great music and the memories that go with it.
Trail blazers at the time, we know about them breaking the norms, breaking records and breaking rules but Culture Club also created their own culture as kids copied their ‘gender bending’ style. This was apparent last night as you made your way into the venue and saw many fans dressed in Boy George attire. So much fun and such a beautiful mark of adoration for a man that did it all his way. You were all gorgeous Sydney, but before I go on any further about our headline act, I need to fly back over to Berlin for a little.
Our support act Berlin are no strangers to 80’s fans. They came out with a bang and had the audience pumped for Culture Club. A total fox, the talented Terri Nunn can still belt out those tunes with such power and clarity, it was a thoroughly enjoyable set with songs like Masquerade, No More Words, The Metro and the love song classic of Take My Breath Away. We had some Dancing in Berlin, followed by a cranking cover of AC/DC ‘s Highway to Hell that drove the crowd wild, and then the lovely Transcendence. It’s like no years have passed since I last saw Berlin at the Enmore Theatre, where Nunn blew the roof off with her powerhouse vocals, and tonight, at Aware Super Theatre, it was no different. It was a great choice of support act and so wonderful to see the crowd come out early and get the party started.
Sydney lit up when Culture Club hit the stage. Primed for this special night of celebration to begin, the fans erupted further when Boy George emerged and greeted us with Sympathy For The Devil, an homage to his idol Mick Jagger. Deafening cheers and claps continued as the upbeat It’s a Miracle followed. You can’t sit still when these songs are played and the joy across the venue is palpable. Blending many different styles, including reggae, calypso, soul and pop, their music appeals to all ages. There are multi-generations here tonight and anything goes as glitter and glowsticks sparkle across the crowd. A visual history of the band projects onto the screen behind the stage, showcasing their music clips and the many fabulous costumes and styles. It’s a wonderful trip down memory lane.
Another CC classic of I’ll Tumble 4 Ya continues our night of musical indulgence, then it’s Move Away and a powerful Melodrama duet with George and backup singer, Vangelis Polydorou. George was Polydorou’s mentor on The Voice UK. It’s lovely to see that mentorship continue past the show finale. I quite like the reggae version of Bread’s Everything I Own and then it was time to showcase some great new music with Let it Go.
At 62, George is still as stunning and charming as ever, controlling the crowd with such ease, like the seasoned performer that he is. Some are just born to be these stars, that’s the way it is and we can only hope to catch some of their star dust. As we dance, sing and melt away the stresses of our everyday existence, we are thankful for this opportunity to do so. The camaraderie on stage between George, Mikey and Roy has rubbed off on the audience who were having the time of their lives. With the addition of extra keyboards, percussion and a sax player, the songs we love had a fuller and more exciting sound, adding extra dimension to the performance.
Who doesn’t know our next song Do You Really Want To Hurt Me? Tonight’s moving rendition came with a special dedication from George to family & friends in the audience. Then we move up-tempo to Angel of Mercy, followed by the all-powerful Victims. Devastatingly emotional, with George’s haunting vocals, it still sounds so fresh after all these years. The crowd is in awe as phones light up and all of the focus is directed to the mesmerising stage. We snap out of this deep trance with That’s the Way (I’m only trying to help you) as George and their talented backup singer Roxy Yarnold give us another brilliant duet for the night. Everyone then jumps up as Church of the Poison Mind, crossed with Wham’s Baby, I’m You’re Man, has us bopping once more. Sydney goes wild once again and there is no stopping the revelry when fans let loose. Another gem, Time (Clock of the Heart) makes the list while Miss Me Blind keeps this devoted gathering up and screaming as our main set comes to a close. It’s mayhem in the theatre, no one is moving as they yell, clap and cheer for more.
As the band return for our encore, we get a cracking version of T’Rex’s, Get it On (bang a gong) that coincides with George’s very entertaining band intro. Then it’s time for the final cherry on top, and we’ve had quite a few cherries already, as the much-loved Karma Chameleon brings the house down. Sydney gives the band a well-deserved standing ovation for this outstanding night of music and pure joy. As the revelers, in their ‘post Culture Club concert high’, make their way out into the Sydney night, I can see nothing but smiling and happy faces, some still singing their favourite songs while bonding with their friends as they walk and float along the Darling Harbour esplanade.
Culture Club just have their own way of bringing out the sunshine in people and no doubt this would have continued well into this frisky Friday night of Spring. We are already looking forward to the next tour.
You can still catch Culture Club in Adelaide tomorrow night and Brisbane on the 14th.
For more info go to: https://www.teglive.com.au/
© MARINA KNEZEVIC 2023. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
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