with the Psychedelic Furs
Lakewood Amphitheater, Atlanta, GA • July 19, 2000
Reunion tours are always a delicate matter. There is really no way for the past to be truly recreated, nor can they totally reinvent themselves. A sense of pity can be as strong as a sense of nostalgia at some of these shows. With a recent run of ’80s bands reforming to cash in on the New Wave nostalgia, it looks as if they may have learned from some of the embarrassment of stars from the ’60s and ’70s, most recently the poorly conceived Supremes tour.
On a miserably hot and muggy night at Atlanta’s Lakewood Amphitheater, I got the opportunity to see two bands who I adored in the ’80s but never had the chance to see: the Psychedelic Furs and the Go-Go’s. The Furs opened the show and, frankly, I didn’t really expect much. To my surprise, the Furs sounded great. They seem to get the fact that they aren’t twenty years old anymore, and they approached their set with confidence and maturity. The took songs over fifteen years old, like “Pretty in Pink” and “Love My Way,” and made them seem fresh while not disappointing those who wanted to relive 1983.
One night in 1981, while watching HBO’s Video Jukebox, a video came on that would forever alter my life, at least as far as it pertains to music. It was “Our Lips Are Sealed” by the Go-Go’s. Prior to seeing this video, women in music were Olivia Newton-John, Abba, and Blondie singing “The Tide is High.” The Go-Go’s were something else entirely. It was all girls, they played their own instruments, wrote their own songs, and… and they were cool. I was instantly and forever a Go-Go’s fan. Even when the ’80s were winding down and the band became a punch line to a joke, I never lost the faith. Following a bitter break up, mixed solo careers, and ill-fated comeback attempts, it seems like the girls of the Go-Go’s have become women. Their live show is strong and energetic, showing the decades of life in the music business they have endured. The rhythm section of drummer Gina Schock and bassist Kathy Valentine was and is the strongest facet of the band. Charlotte Caffey and Jane Weidlin’s guitar work was quite nice, and far more inventive than they were in 1984. As far as their lead singer goes, Belinda Carlisle has often been criticized for a lack of vocal chops, but there was no evidence of a deficiency in Atlanta. She sells her voice far better than she used to, and confidently belted out songs like “Vacation,” “Cool Jerk,” and “This Town.” The band even managed to sneak in a couple of new songs. The Go-Go’s sounded great, looked better, and actually may have a future ahead of them that doesn’t solely rely on the past.