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A Totally 80's Affair @ Stir

Saturday night I hopped in my DeLorean and traveled back to the 80’s at Stir Cove. The weather was perfect for an outdoor show for the second night in a row. A crowd ranging in ages from infant to baby boomers gathered to see Tom Bailey of The Thompson Twins and Boy George & Culture Club.

Tom Bailey took the stage in all white with his female backing band. Touring to support his first pop release in over 20 years, Bailey brought all the synth sound you can handle and a catalog of beloved hits. Playing a couple of tracks from his new record “Science Fiction” that easily blended with the Thompson Twins hits that everyone knew, the crowd enjoyed every minute. Before playing “If You Were Here”, Bailey told the story of getting the call to ask permission to use the song in Sixteen Candles, saying he asked what the movie was about and the exec on the other line said, “I have no idea.” The biggest ovations came from the Thompson Twins radio hits like “Lies, Lies, Lies” and “Doctor, Doctor” until the disco ball dropped, and he began “Hold Me Now” to close the show. It was like the crowd finally woke up, with everyone jumping to their feet, singing along and swaying with the music.

Culture Club hit the stage and the band immediately began playing “Let’s Dance”, a David Bowie cover. Bassist Mikey Craig took center stage for the song jamming out the iconic bassline. Boy George joined the band shortly before vocals kicked in to a large roar from the crowd. Dressed in his signature oversized hat and long jacket, George belted out Bowie with his own flair. Chatting with the crowd between songs, Boy George was relishing the attention, even stopping a few times mid-sentence to demand attention from someone in the front that he could see was not looking at him. The set was a class in how to control a crowd, not only with the banter but the showmanship during the songs. Midway through the show the band did a reggae version of “Everything I Own” by Bread (or ‘NSYNC if you’re an elder Millennial like myself), it was a great example of the band taking a song and putting their own stamp on it. Toward the end of the show, we were treated to a cover of "Addicted to Love". In a moment that shows how in tune with the crowd Boy George was, an older gentleman was being escorted to the front of the stage to be taken care of by EMT’s and George stopped what he was doing to go check on him and take him a bottle of water from the stage. He continued to look over to check on him through out the following song. Before playing “Church of the Poisoned Mind” Boy George asked if anyone in the crowd could play harmonica better than he could. A guy was pulled from the crowd and brought on stage, he was handed the harmonica and proceeded to blaze through the song like he was a member of the band, running around the stage and jumping around, he joined the band again during the finale of “Karma Chameleon”. The crowd was relishing every minute of the show and Boy George’s theatrics as well as his amazingly soulful voice. Culture Club is releasing their first album together in 19 years in October. If the new songs played during the show are any indication, it will be a delight to listen to.

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