Boy George ‘walks out’ of own concert, but returns | Inquirer Entertainment

Boy George ‘walks out’ of own concert, but returns

By: - Reporter
/ 02:03 AM June 23, 2016

BOY George

BOY George

As the recent concert of the Culture Club began to pick up pace, it hit a wall.

Culture Club, the ’80s’ gender-bending new wave group from the United Kingdom, had just finished suffusing the air with the funky bassline and burnished synths of “Move Away,” and was about to sashay into the next song—when the band vocalist, Boy George, excused himself from the stage for what seemed an oddly-timed costume change.


There was a technical problem, it turned out—a fan belt in the power source supplying electricity to the stage had snapped. But good thing, drummer Jon Moss pointed out, percussions could sound just as good unplugged, then proceeded to deliver thumping solos on the skins.


For a moment, he succeeded in entertaining—and distracting—the fans at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. But when it became clear that the trouble was not going to be resolved anytime soon, the dozen or so musicians and backup vocalists, including Moss, guitarist Roy Hay and bassist Mikey Craig, retreated backstage, turning the audience’s spirited cheers into anxious murmurs.

“Boy George has not walked out on us, right?” a worried woman beside us blurted out. The restless chatter would continue for 35 more long minutes, before an announcement saying that the show would resume “in a while,” elicited a collective sigh of relief.

When at last Culture Club reemerged onstage, the fans—raring to sing, their feet itching to move—greeted them with emphatic roars.

The frontman, who had ditched his black and white opening outfit for an ensemble of black, mustard and silver, made sure to apologize and thank the crowd for its patience, and showed everyone that there was no wall he couldn’t break with his music.

FROM left: Guitarist Roy Hay, frontman Boy George, bassist Mikey Craig Photos by Leo Sabangan II

FROM left: Guitarist Roy Hay, frontman Boy George, bassist Mikey Craig Photos by Leo Sabangan II

The 55-year-old singer-songwriter, whose real name is George Alan O’Dowd, wasted no time picking up where he left off.

He soldiered on with a Caribbean-tinged arrangement of “Everything I Own” by Bread, staying faithful to the atmosphere created by the band’s opening salvo of midtempo dance ditties like “Church of the Poison Mind,” “It’s a Miracle” and “I’ll Tumble 4 Ya.”


Before long, everyone was singing, clapping, dancing down nostalgia lane: “Miss Me Blind,” “Time (Clock of the Heart).”

As one would expect from the eclectic quartet, Culture Club offered a melange of musical styles: There were rock, soul, disco, pop and funk; there were lots of brass, with an equal serving of sass.

Boy George’s reggae proclivities, on the other hand, was most prominent in the hit song “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me,” whose carefree vibe mirrored his laid-back presence onstage.

Boy George’s vocals sounded mighty solid throughout the show (mounted by Royale Chimes). However, gone was the androgynously sweet tone of his early years, replaced by a deeper, more textured sound that was best appreciated and put more gravity in “Victims,” an emotional ballad on a tumultuous romance.

Bathed in darkness, Boy George let the song soar, with a duo of fervid gospel singers lifting it even higher with their surging vocals.

The night’s most awaited number, as expected, was Culture Club’s biggest international hit, “Karma Chameleon,” which announced its arrival with that catchy, unmistakable passage of harmonica. In an instant, the crowd rose to its feet and erupted into deafening cheers.

Another standout performance was “War Song,” which vacillated between somber and dramatic, and joyous and festive. It wasn’t in the group’s standard set list for this ongoing world tour, but on that night, an exception was made.

And in light of the recent spate of tragic events around the world, particularly the Orlando mass shooting that left Boy George feeling “devastated,” the song exuded a sense of urgency and relevance.

The lengthy delay did take a toll on the concert; it ate up the group’s time, and thus, a handful of songs had to be scrapped.

Still, the Culture Club ended the night on an ecstatic note, by way of “Bang a Gong (Get it On).”

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TAGS: Boy George, concert, Culture Club, Entertainment

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