By Jeremy Grand
Everybody knows the songs – they were a staple of the ’80s and ’90s, spouting timeless party music that is both classic and relevant without overstaying its welcome. It was a safe bet that The Space would be as packed as it was, with the crowd as predicted (gay guys and middle-agers, with a smattering of the rest, of course).
Although they have been around since the late ’70s, that didn’t stop The B-52s from putting on an excellent show. Long Island band Strange But Surf was a great opening act for this headliner. The band’s name, Strange But Surf, accurately reflects the music they play – covers of surf and party songs.
The B-52s hit the ground running, performing all the songs you hoped (and knew in your heart) they would, including “Private Idaho,” “Roam,” and “Dance This Mess Around” (which showcases the delightful shrieking vocals of Cindy Wilson), to name a few.
Fred Schneider’s immediately recognizable voice put a big grin on everyone’s faces, as he whimsically bantered between sets with Wilson and the firey-haired Kate Pierson (who disappointedly did not sport a bee-hive ‘do). Schneider announced one song (“Hot Lava”) as being about a “stinking hole,” adding, “Any place conservatives are is a stinking hole … yech!”
Introducing the band was a cute moment, as Schneider went one by one with the intros in his best eHarmony voice, while giving away their relationship statuses. When asked the same of Schneider, he responded, “I’m available … for weddings, bar mitzvas, you name it,” acting coy and without skipping a beat.
Everyone sang along to “Love Shack,” as expected, and for a good chunk of the song the band just held the mic to the crowd. After a long pause between the “bang bangs,” Wilson proudly proclaimed, “I’ve been waiting all night for this,” before belting out the famous “tin roof rusted” line.
Other songs played were “Mesopotamia,” Wilson’s solo “Girl From Ipanema” (during which was a costume change for Schneider) and “Love in the Year 3000,” from their most recent album Funplex. The touring band as a whole was spot on. Between them and Schneider’s occasional use of noisemaking toys (a toy piano – an electronic doodad for outer-spacey sounds), they prove that it can still be done, joyously and effortlessly, after so many years within the lexicon of pop culture.
The show was rounded out with two encore songs – fan favorites “Rock Lobster” and “Planet Claire” – bringing the house down on the highest note. Iconic and full of timeless glee, The B-52s can still put on an amazing show.
For more information on The B-52s and for upcoming tour dates, visit their Web site.