Review of – Culture Club
By eventswhatson.com reviewer Katie Msabaha
After another warm day at the races, enjoying the excitement of the crowd and marvelling at the mix of colourful outfits, we gathered at the stage to await the band. When the music started the bass drum was so loud it reverberated in our chests and I was surprised and delighted to see the original line up take the stage – Roy Hay (guitar and keyboards), Mikey Craig (bass guitar) and Jon Moss (drums and percussion). The band had been expanded further and included a number of backing singers and session musicians so when Boy George walked on stage with his distinctive voice, signature jackets & larger than life hats the whole production immediately felt polished and rich. The gig kicked off with a number of classic tunes and we were surprised at how many of their old songs we knew – I grew up in the 80s so Culture Club were a familiar soundtrack to my youth and everyone was immediately singing along to some great funked up and modernised versions of classic Eighties pop. Boy George was his usual candid and entertaining self – chatting to the audience, joking and dancing. His voice was strong and clear and perfectly complemented by the incredible voice and stage presence of Marie Pierce who is an absolute force of nature!
The show flowed smoothly through funked-up pop, big-band soul and summer-time reggae. As the crowd loosened up, the band skilfully fed us the right mix of old tunes, new tunes and some brilliantly chosen covers. In the middle of the show Boy George gave a rendition of Soft Cell’s ‘Tainted Love’ that blew the crowd away and had people behind me remarking that it was ‘even better than the original version’. At the end of the song Boy George said exactly what was on my mind “how do you follow a song like that?”…he answered his own question “with a song like this…” and launched into a remastered version of “Do you really Want to Hurt me” which kept the crowd at the peak they had just reached (and left me singing the same tune when I woke up this morning). As someone who has never classed herself as a Culture Club fan I was now feeling converted – these were people who could read a crowd, had an armoury of great tunes, played well and obviously loved what they were doing. The concert culminated with Boy George paying homage to other singers who had influenced his music, treating us to some well received covers including T-Rex. The show ended with a stunning tribute to Prince and a version of Purple Rain that left every hair on your body standing on end. A fabulously entertaining night!