Supported by Tom Bailey (Thompson Twins) and Belinda Carlisle
A review by Tanya Howard
Everyone’s favourite 80’s band are back together for an arena tour of the UK, ending 25 November, and last month released a new album called Life. Culture Club defined an era and were at the forefront of the new romantic movement of the 80s, the band have already played a series of shows, headlining arenas across the USA earlier this year. Supported by two heavyweight 80s stars Tom Bailey and Belinda Carlisle, I went to the Wembley Arena show with my Mum whose first ever concert happened to be Culture Club at the very same venue.
After more than two decades and millions of singles and albums sold globally, this year marks a new era for Boy George and Culture Club as they work on their first new music in 20 years. Culture Club set so many records and broke through so many boundaries as the first multi-racial band with an openly gay front man. Guitarist Roy Hay and bassist Mikey Craig are back for the tour, but drummer Jon Moss has stepped down from the tour to spend time with his kids, but three quarters of Culture Club is better than no Culture Club.
George still has an incredible voice and has only gotten better with age, and it was amazing to watch one of the bands I grew up listening, with my Mum being such a fan, live on stage. They not only played a number of their hit singles from back in the day but also gave us a little preview of their new sound including a blues piece called Runaway Train. They played a beautiful rendition of Do You Really Want to Hurt Me, slowed down that gradually builds into the hip swinging reggae sound we are used to.
One of the things that we love about George is his laugh and the way he is so comfortable and content on a stage, talking to the audience like a bunch of old friends. Whilst I don’t know every song from their collection my Mum spent the majority of the concert on her feet singing and dancing away, she was having the time of her life. The lady next to us was in awe of my Mum and was so impressed about how much of a fan she knew every word to every song.
In the middle of Church of the Poison Mind they performed an excerpt from Wham’s I’m Your Man and played Victims which is one of my Mum’s favourite numbers. And of course, the one that we were all waiting for, and got the biggest reaction of the night, was of course the encore number Karma Chameleon. Crazy to think that that song was released 35 years ago, but it’s still a classic song that doesn’t fail to get everyone on their feet and singing away.
Despite having been apart for more than two decades it felt like Culture Club have never been away and looked completed at home on the stage of Wembley, three of the four band members reunited to bring us their tour. They had an amazing presence on the stage, looked like they’d never left and are still as relevant as ever as the band who originally challenged the norm. We had an amazing time at the concert, my Mum can’t stop singing their songs round the house and telling everyone about the great show they put on, and I for one am excited to see the next steps in their journey.