Saturday, June 18, 2016

Recap and Videos: CULTURE CLUB Live in Manila: Partying with a Power Outage

June 19, 2016




Earlier this year, popular 80s band Culture Club featuring their flamboyant cross-dressing lead vocalist Boy George audaciously announced a two-night concert in Manila at the Araneta Coliseum on June 17 and 18, 2016. However, by the first week of June, it was announced that the first day had been scrapped and that there will only be one concert on June 18. I had to swap my 06/17 tickets for 06/18 tickets.

When we entered the Coliseum at around 8 pm, there were still very many empty seats all over in all sections. This was a Saturday night, so this situation was very unusual. The Gen Ad section had been closed and the lucky GA ticket holders were upgraded to Upper Box, which nevertheless still never filled up despite this. It would never be a full house even as the concert started by about 9 pm.

Roy Hay (guitar and keyboards), Mikey Craig (bass guitar) and Jon Moss (drums and percussion) entered the stage first, before star vocalist Boy George made his grand entrance. The concert started very strongly, with four consecutive big hits: "Church of the Poison Mind" (#2 UK, #10 US, 1983) (VIDEO), "It's a Miracle" (#4 UK, #13 US, 1984), "I'll Tumble 4 Ya" (#9 US, 1982) and "Move Away" (#7 UK, #12 US, 1986) (VIDEO). It was promising to be a great concert of 80s nostalgia, as the music videos of each hit were being shown on the big screen as Boy George was singing the songs. 



Then suddenly, the images on the big screen vanished. The technicians announced that there had been a power outage on the stage! While the microphones and overhead lights seemed to be working, all the amplifiers of the instruments are dead. Upon this announcement, Boy George at first joked if he was going to do a stand-up comedy routine. However, probably realizing that the power problem was serious, he left the stage for a "costume change." 

The drummers tried to engage the audience with a couple of drum numbers, however they also could not sustain the long wait. The audience grew restless and, in true Filipino fashion, spent the time singing or joking around. This wait would last for an interminable 30-40 minutes before the power was finally restored and the concert could resume. Boy George apologized profusely and thanked everyone for waiting patiently.

The first number sung after the outage was Boy George's solo hit "Everything I Own" (#1 UK, 1987), a reggae-flavored cover of an old ballad hit by Bread. Then Boy George paired up with one of his diva-esque back-up singers to perform the soulful "Black Money", followed by another soulful solo song entitled "Victims" (#3 UK, 1983). These two songs prove that Boy George's pipes light-as-air vocals can also be powerful and dramatic.



The next four songs was another hit blitz. For "Time (Clock of the Heart)" (#3 UK, #2 US, 1982), Boy George enjoined lovers put their arms around each other. This was followed by the upbeat crowd favorite "Miss Me Blind" (#5 US, 1984) with its Japanese-themed video playing behind him. The next song Boy George introduced as the song that started it all for them: "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?" (#1 UK, #2 US, 1982) (VIDEO). Immediately following was their first and only Number 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 (also #1 in UK) -- "Karma Chameleon" (VIDEO). This song finally got the whole crowd up on their feet.

After that hitting that high though, Boy George elected to play it serious again, with a cover of his personal inspiration David Bowie, an impressive version of "Starman." This was followed by a song that Boy George said he was being pressured to sing. He revealed that they have practically never sung this next song in a concert, only maybe three times in the past 30 years. This was the big hit "The War Song" (#2 UK, #17 US, 1984) sung in a new deconstructed version, which also delighted the audience. 




The next song they performed was another cover, "Bang a Gong (Get It On)" by T. Rex, and also by the Power Station. Boy George suddenly announced his goodbyes towards the final notes of this song and left the stage. The rest of Culture Club and the band wound up their music and bade their goodbyes as well. The audience seemed unsatisfied still, and no one left their seats right away, yelling for more. However, an encore did not come anymore.

The concert covered ALL the biggest hits of Culture Club, so the show should be OK. Maybe it was the order in which the songs were performed that made it seem that the show did not reach a higher climax. I was personally disappointed that Boy George did not get to sing his version of "The Crying Game", which was a favorite of mine. The 30-minute power outage really sapped the momentum of the show considerably. I think Boy George was disappointed with the show overall. He did not dance too much. He only had one costume change. I think maybe it was because of the unexpectedly sparse audience turnout. I really cannot fathom why this concert did not sell as well as it could have.


17 comments:

  1. I was also very surprised at the not-so-good turnout. I expected at least a Duran2 or Spandau Ballet turnout. I'm glad the power was restored, I agree the momentum was affected but thankfully the concert was still great. Not sure Boy George was affected, t didn't seem that way to me but I was surprised tbere was no encore. Baka encore na dapat iyong last two songs minadali na lang? (Baka naghahabol sa kuryente?) I noticed the pixellation on screen, was it part of the technical glitch?

    Overall, I am impressed by the band. Galing ni Jon Moss sa impromptu number niya! As for Boy George, his voice has changed (bumaba? Not as powerful?),kaya medyo AY. Nabawi naman kahit papaano with his attitude and his persona. They're really troopers, kasi para sa akin, ang galing pa rin nila despite the power outage; parang walang outage na naganap. I was more affected by Boy George's voice than the power outage kaya hindi siya perfect night. Maybe it's the age or his early drug days, pero affected ang voice niya. I'm sure a vocal coach can do wonders to his voice and bring it back to its old glory.

    Hindi ba, they said, operating on in-house power sila? Were they using their own gensets kaya? I also noticed the stagehands didn't do a sound check prior to the show. They just tuned the instruments saka naglatag sa floor ng papel (set list?).

    Maybe the show would've had a better turnout if they timed it later than June. Pasukan ng mga bata, e, bitin ang budget ng mga kaedad natin. Oh, well. Sana bumalik sila. I'd still watch them.

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  2. Well I think the lack of audience could really spoil the mood of performer sometimes,so here I guess this actually happens.Also The 30-minute power outage ruined the mood of both audience and performers as well.So yup as an audience you deserve to be disappointed by their performance and whole.

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  3. Certainly one of the biggest icons to talk the earth! Must have been a one of a kind experience ;D

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  4. I agree with Debarpan - may be lack of audience and technical glitches can be de-motivating for performers as well. But they do have the power to engage the audience in a way that everyone forgets the delays and issues. Hmmm! I wonder what went wrong!

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  5. Well, this malfunction usually happened, and performers understood it all along. But sometimes, audience reacts differently. The song Everything I Own..is a hit in the past.

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  6. Wow just wow! The power outage was a big glitch on the production side. And 30 to 40 minutes was looong enough, but still the show must go on and I think the crowd were happy.

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  7. This is a great display. It would be wonderful if there was a perfect stability of power supply. In addition, the numbers was not encouraging at all.

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  8. I have seen in my FB timeline one or two photos of Boy George. Only then that I learned he was in town. Given that he's an 80's icon, I would have expected a large turnout. Too bad there was a glitch in the show. A 30-40 minute power outage is a big letdown.

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  9. Maybe it was not promoted well. It feels nostalgic though to get reminded of the 80s hits in the concert.

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  10. I maybe too young to know these guys but I am sure that they definitely have great hits!

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  11. That's a shame. Technical glitches are really the worst thing to happen in live performances!!

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  12. It kinda sets you off when an event is cut-short because of some instances. Like the victory party in Davao, the power was cut since the wires got wet from the heavy rain. We couldn't party harder with other Filipino celebrities anymore.

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  13. Wow the show stopped for 40 minutes will be to long but technical error is very hard to predict. Glad that rectify it and the show continue.

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  14. Oh so bad! Lesser audience and on TOP of it technical issues...such things will mar the concert for sure.

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  15. He will always be one of my favorites and I find him extremely entertaining during live performances! I'm glad you were able to watch him live, sorry to hear about the issue during the concert though.

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  16. I think I saw Chuvaness write about this one too? She loves Boy George ata. I dont' know if I would have waited that long. But if the tickets were pricey, I would have no choice.

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  17. a blogger friend of mine went to the concert and seeing her photos on fb makes me think it was a successful and fun concert

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