KKLZ 96.3 Radio hosted their Super Summer Bash at The Orleans Arena with Boy George of Culture Club and a host of other 80’s pop rock favorites, featuring Nu Shooz, When In Rome UK - Farrington & Mann, Tommy Tutone, Tiffany, and The Romantics, and emcee'd by KKLZ Radio DJ’s Mike and Karla.
The annual summer bash kicked off the show with Nu Shooz, with Valerie Day and husband John Smith, the founding members of the group which origianlly featured 12 band members. Their freestyle pop always brought fans to the dance floor and did so once again with hits "I Can’t Wait", "Point of No Return", "Don’t Let Me Be the One" and more. Day’s voice is still clear and pristine, as well as her entertaining impromptu dance moves. The duo has been together 43 years, produced and released seven albums and received a Grammy Award nomination for Best New Artist in 1987.
Nu Shooz photos: Harold Mountain / JustAFan Photos
A quick stage change and When In Rome UK, also known as Farrington & Mann, appeared next. The English new wave dance duo of Clive Farrington and Andrew Mann were another crowd pleaser with their number one dance hit "The Promise", as well as playing hits, "Heaven Knows", "Everything", and "Sight of Your Tears".
Farrington & Mann photos: Harold Mountain / JustAFan Photos
Tommy Tutone is the sum of Tommy Heath and bandmates Jimmy James/bass, Greg Georgeson/guitar, and Andy Gauthier/drums, and brought the first full band of the night to the stage. Heath, dressed notably in black jeans, tee, fedora, dark blazer with sleeves pushed up to his elbows and completed with black sunglasses, evoked a classic 80’s rocknroll vibe while performing several Tutone favorites, along with a cover of "Operator" by Jim Croce and ending their set with their best known hit "867-5309/Jenny".
Tommy Tutone photos: Harold Mountain / JustAFan Photos
The night continued down pop heaven memory lane, as song after song recaptured a bygone era. Hosts Mike and Karla introduce the pop icon Tiffany, the 1987 teen queen who first stole the hearts on a nationwide tour of shopping malls during The Beautiful You: Celebrating The Good Life Shopping Mall Tour '87. Performing many of her songs treasured by fans, she had the audience dancing and the entire time. Halfway through her set, she joked with the audience saying she wasn’t going to take off her shoes, but “One day I’ll eventually buy a pair of shoes that I can wear through an entire show”, she said as she laughed and sat on the drum riser to take off her heels. “You’ve not been to a Tiffany show unless you’ve seen me barefoot! I’m just a tomboy! Welcome to my show!”, she exclaimed. “I started singing as a young girl and being the tomboy that I am, I just couldn’t stop. I just wanted to sing.” It’s a definite change in attitude as she struts and dances around barefoot and brings the 80’s pop rock favorites to life. Closing with her top hit, "I Think We’re Alone Now", Tiffany had the audience on their feet for her last song.
Tiffany photos: Harold Mountain / JustAFan Photos
The power pop new wave sounds of The Romantics were next and the band gave a rousing performance that included some crowd favorites and anthemic moments with "One in a Million", "What I like about you", and "Talking in Your Sleep". The Romantics are one of the few pop rock bands that kept the majority of the original lineup intact, with vocalist Wally Palmar, lead guitarist and vocalist Mike Skill, bassist and backing vocalist Rich Cole all founding members and still with the touring band. Joined by drummer Brad Elvis, (formerly from The Elvis Brothers), The Romantics continue to give their audience a great time and some great sing-a-long pop moments in their live show.
The Romantics photos: Harold Mountain / JustAFan Photos
The headliner for the 2017 Super Summer Bash Boy George appeared, dressed very dapper in a black suit jacket, 80’s style black pants with vines & roses, long tails, and his own spin on the famed Bowler Hat - this one being a lustrous magenta - and as always sporting designer sneakers. Boy George standing on stage is completely different than most would expect from the 1984 Boy who performed with Culture Club. George Alan O’Dowd is an English singer, songwriter, DJ, photographer and lead singer of the Grammy and Brit Award winning band Culture Club since their formation in 1981. This solo tour was a little different from his prior Culture Club tour of last year.
The hour long set began with 1983 hit "Church Of The Poison Mind", and sharing the stage with Boy George were two backup singers, one guitarist, and a keyboardist to make it a personal venture with an semi acoustic show. Boy George glided across the stage in true style, and greeted the audience with a happy hello and a huge smile from ear to ear. The blue-eyed performer brought a soul, pop rock & reggae mix to the show and excitement from the 80's era - fans dressed in 80’s neon, sweat bands, big hair, and even children dressed in full Boy George regalia with hat and braids.
In between select songs, Boy George speaks to the crowd and spins stories of days gone by, along with his pursuits in the present, and speaks of peace, love and everyone in the world getting along - something he hopes we can do in the midst of chaos of the world we currently live in. As he performs a cover of Soft Cell's "Tainted Love", he states, “You can only do justice to one fabulous love song by doing another love song”, and he begins "Do You Really Want To Hurt Me" as the fans join in to sing along.
Even with the somewhat mellowness of an acoustic show, Boy George gives a hint of a possible residency in Las Vegas... “I’ve been thinking since I’ve been here in Vegas today. Hmmm, I’m really thinking I could stay here for awhile. So, what do you think? If I were to stay here for a while, would you come see me perform?” The entire assemblage is ecstatic with the anticipation of a chance to see him perform again and maybe even multiple times. I do have to say, that we here in Las Vegas do tend to be spoiled. Residencies are huge here and the chance of any band or artist having one proves to be a massive opportunity, not only for them, but for locals to be fortunate enough to see them perform more than once. For Boy George to have made this statement during a live show, we have to hope it might be in the works!
Boy George closed his set with "Karma Chameleon", and it had been a definite “Red, Gold and Green” kind of night for this iconic singer. Mike and Karla come to the stage to give thanks to all artists for the night, but George has a different plan. “I know we’re on a time limit here, but I feel the utmost need to sing this last song.” His voice, true and pure soars across the crowd as he croons "Fly Me To The Moon" (Frank Sinatra). Nothing has changed for Boy George in talent and in making a statement, only years and experience. It was a great ending to a great night of iconic music from the 80's.
Boy George photos: Harold Mountain / JustAFan Photos