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Panoramic pop

Cyndi Lauper and "True Colors," Bank of America Pavilion, June, 16, 2007
By JIM SULLIVAN  |  June 19, 2007
ANTHEMS: Lauper brought real-world
concerns along with a bill of gay, gay-friendly,
and gay-icon performers.

Ann Coulter and the pope were bashed by lesbian comic Margaret Cho; Dresden Dolls singer/pianist Amanda Palmer and drummer Brian Viglione showed their undies (black and red, respectively); and Blondie singer Debbie Harry dismayed everyone by playing not a single Blondie song. (Her soundman said that five of the ones she did perform are from an upcoming CD.) And that’s just a snapshot of the scene at Bank of America Pavilion Saturday night, where the Cyndi Lauper–helmed “True Colors” tour stopped for a five-hour spell. With MC Cho, the Gossip, the Dresden Dolls, Rufus Wainwright, Harry, Erasure, and Lauper, this was a bill of gay, gay-friendly, and gay-icon performers aimed to benefit the Human Rights Campaign and to get a multi-generational audience grooving to multi-generational artists. The timing also made it a de facto celebration of the state legislature’s vote not to put a marriage-for-straights-only constitutional amendment on the 2008 ballot, as Erasure singer Vince Clarke noted. The older and better-known folks — Lauper, Erasure, and Harry — were on the upper half of the bill; the younger folks opened. Cho came out between acts, and she became increasingly annoying and less funny as the evening progressed.

Under the big tent, public displays of affection were no big deal — the Pavilion was P-town for a night. There was upbeat indie dance pop from the Gossip, bittersweet love songs from the Dolls, and swelling melancholic numbers from Wainwright. Only Lauper, who ended with encores of “Time After Time” and “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” and a grand finale of “True Colors,” played a full hour of material. Erasure — Clarke plus synthist/guitarist Andy Bell and three female back-up singers — were the most fun. Touring behind another synth-pop gem, Light at the End of the World (Mute), they did three songs from the CD — “Sunday Girl,” “I Could Fall in Love,” and “Sucker for Love.” The new material is cut from the same sublime cloth as Erasure’s classics: tainted love, bubbly rhythms, and resplendent hooks. Their sound was exuberant, with an undercurrent of ennui.

Wainwright and his band — all dressed in striped outfits — delivered lush, theatrical pop, starting with the title track of his new Release the Stars (Geffen). It was the most plaintive section of the evening. Harry was just puzzling: to join a tour like this and offer up nothing but unheard and obscure songs was not a good call. But Lauper — barefoot and sporting a black mini-dress — was in good form, rocking through “When U Were Mine”(with Palmer joining in) and taking a triumphant turn with her ’80s hit “Money Changes Everything.” “We think we know what we’re doing,” she belted out. “We don’t pull the strings.” In her hands, the song is a true American anthem. And it brought a potent and welcome punch of reality to “True Colors.”

  Topics: Live Reviews , Cyndi Lauper , Cyndi Lauper , Debbie Harry ,  More more >
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