Music Park: 10 Top Live Bowie Covers of 2016

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Duran Duran perform a medley of “Planet Earth”/”Space Oddity” at the Klipsch Amphitheater at Bayfront Park in Miami on April 1, 2016. (Photo courtesy YouTube)

In the past year, I’ve reminisced much on the passing of David Bowie, whose unexpected death in January marked a year of remembrances of the great musician and his legacy.

And many of these remembrances involved a good deal of dancing and absorbing live performances from wonderful artists that took the time to remember Bowie as well. Here then are 10 top Bowie covers that I saw in my time reviewing shows for Parklife DC in 2016.

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Snapshots: GROVES @ Strathmore Music Center — 9/11/16

Groves 11 Groves vocalist Stephen Salisbury sings at Strathmore on Sept. 11, 2016.

LA-based power pop trio Groves opened for Culture Club on Sunday at Strathmore Music Center. Also on Sunday, Parklife DC told you the story of how Groves, named after their hometown in Texas, came hire The Madden Brothers as managers, and then came to the attention of Boy George and Culture Club, who picked the young band as openers for a 38-date US tour.

Revisit our interview with the lead singer of Groves to find out all about it.

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Music Park: Culture Club @ Strathmore Music Center — 9/11/16

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Boy George sings at Strathmore Music Center on Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016.

Boy George has embraced a new level of maturity, inspired in part by one of his heroes, funk musician Sly Stone.

Recalling a magazine interview with Sly during a performance by Culture Club on Sunday night, George quoted Sly as saying, “I have many regrets, but none that I can remember right now.”

George discussed personal growth during a show at Strathmore Music Hall in Bethesda, Maryland, in the introduction to new Culture Club song “Different Man,” which will tentatively appear on a new album set for 2017 on Culture Club’s own label, Different Man Music. (There’s a theme for you!) George emphasized that you don’t become a different person like Sly, who may have done some reckless things in his youth, simply by growing older. Wisdom doesn’t simply manifest itself, and people must have the will to change, like Sly — or like George.

“You have to decide to change and become a different man,” George acknowledged. With that, George launches into the soulful song about turning a new leaf. We understand clearly that George is apologizing for his own past behavior, and that he’s here now with his bandmates in Culture Club for the better.

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Don’t Miss: Culture Club @ Strathmore, 9/11/16

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Culture Club (Photo courtesy the band)

Culture Club eyed releasing a new album in 2016, but they seem to have cooled off on it for the time being.

That said, the soulful UK quartet has been hard at work on touring! The original members — including bassist Mikey Craig, guitarist Roy Hay, drummer Jon Moss, and vocalist Boy George — have been traveling the world together in the last few years, and they appear to be having the time of their lives.

As evidence of how good touring has been for the group, Parklife DC gave their live show a very positive review when it stopped by Wolf Trap in 2015, and Boy George himself came around again with his friend Cyndi Lauper (again at Wolf Trap) in June. But the local touring doesn’t end there! The restless band now are planning to hit the Music Center at Strathmore on Sunday, Sept. 11.

Watch Culture Club perform their classic hit “Miss Me Blind” for Jimmy Kimmel Live! on June 28, 2016:

Last year, we wrote, “It’s a miracle — that we were able to witness the reformation of these remarkable musicians, and I say that because Culture Club doesn’t work when it’s just the Boy George show. Surely, the flamboyant vocalist is a key ingredient of the act, but he needs his compatriots to pull it off. For their part, the other three were in remarkably good spirits, waving, shaking hands, smiling along with the audience. Their high spirits buoyed a strong performance and fed into making the band seem like a band.”

Tonight, Culture Club perform in San Antonio, Texas, hitting the road on the journey to their DC-area show. Don’t miss them blind — go see them in concert!

Tickets for the DC show are available online. (Check out the VIP package as well for a meet and greet with Culture Club!)

Culture Club
Strathmore Music Center
Sunday, Sept. 11
Show @8pm
$65-$165
All ages

Interview: Cyndi Lauper @ Wolf Trap — 6/1/16

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Cyndi Lauper and Boy George (Photo courtesy True Colors Fund)

Cyndi Lauper performed in a sold-out show Wednesday at the Filene Center at Wolf Trap, at times fiery and at times sentimental but always irrepressible!

Nominally, she was touring in support of her new album Detour, a collection of country music covers released last month on Sire Records. But the concert sold out in part because it was the last of seven dates where she shared the spotlight with another ‘80s icon, Boy George.

In performance, Cyndi and George sang three songs together — at the end of George’s set, they covered “Bang a Gong” by T. Rex, a favorite of George. And at the end of Cyndi’s set, they performed “You’re the Reason Our Kids Are Ugly,” originally by Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty, and covered on Cyndi’s new album with Vince Gill. Afterward, Cyndi and George joined forces for “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!”

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Contest: Win Dinner w/ Cyndi Lauper @ Wolf Trap, 6/1/16

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Cyndi Lauper and Boy George (Photo courtesy the artists)

Fans of Cyndi Lauper know the alt-diva released a new album of country covers, titled Detour, last Friday. And they may know she’s on tour now and coming to Wolf Trap on Wednesday, June 1. (Read our Parklife DC transcript of a press roundtable about the album and tour with Cyndi!)

But you may not know you have a chance to win tickets to the show and dinner with Cyndi Lauper and to meet her tourmate –- the one and only Boy George!

You can win this amazing prize by donating to Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors Fund. In addition to dinner with Cyndi backstage at the Wolf Trap show, you can win other prizes:

  • Meet and Greet with Cyndi Lauper and Boy George backstage
  • Eat dinner with Cyndi and the crew and go to soundcheck
  • Get a backstage tour and a photo with Cyndi and Boy George
  • Watch the show from VIP seats
  • Airfare and 4-star hotel
  • Click here to place a bid (auction ends May 13)

You read that correctly: The auction ends in only two days -– on May 13.

The True Colors Fund, an organization co-founded by Cyndi, works to end homelessness among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth. To donate and enter for chances to win exclusives, click here.

Additional packages include:

  • Digital Thank You Card from Cyndi and Boy George + 250 entries ($25 donation)
  • Double-Sided Coin (featuring Cyndi Lauper art) + 500 entries ($50 donation)
  • Be Un-YOU-sual T-Shirt (featuring exclusive design inspired by Lauper’s 1983 album) + 1,000 entries ($100 donation)
  • Cyndi Silhouette T-Shirt (featuring Lauper’s iconic pink hairdo) + 1,000 entries ($100 donation)
  • Signed Music Sheet for “True Colors” + 3,000 entries ($300 donation)
  • Social Shoutout from Cyndi herself + 5,000 entries to win ($500 donation)
  • Autographed Iconic Cyndi Outfit (worn on The Celebrity Apprentice) + 25,000 entries ($2,500)
  • Signed Microphone + Autographed Music Sheet for “True Colors” + 50,000 entries ($5,000 donation)

Regular seating for the concert is sold out, but you now have this once in a lifetime opportunity to go in style. Donate and win today!

Cyndi Lauper and Boy George
Filene Center at Wolf Trap
Wednesday, June 1
Show @8pm
Contest open!
All ages

Interview: Cyndi Lauper (@ Wolf Trap, 6/1/16)

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Cyndi Lauper (Photo by Chapman Baehler)

The inimitable Cyndi Lauper will soon launch a tour in support of her new album, Detour, a collection of covers of country songs, due out this Friday, May 6, via Sire Records.

For seven dates on that tour, including a stop at Wolf Trap in Vienna, Va., on Wednesday, June 1, Cyndi will share a stage with another icon of pop music in the 1980s — Boy George, lead singer of Culture Club.

Earlier this week, Cyndi held a telephone press conference with several music and arts reporters to chat about her new album and the tour. The following transcript has been edited for brevity and focus.

Q: Can you tell us how you came to record an album of country classics?

Cyndi Lauper: These covers and this time in country music are very closely linked to R&B, which is very closely linked to the birth of rock and roll. So it’s the foundation of everything I sing. When I was a kid, these songs were pop songs — Patsy Cline was on the radio, Loretta Lynn was on the radio. We had three radio stations! They were on the radio.

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Don’t Miss: Cyndi Lauper @ Wolf Trap, 6/1/16

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Cyndi Lauper (Photo by Chapman Baehler)

We collectively remember Ms. Cyndi Lauper for reminding us that “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” but the fiesty pop chanteuse has been busy with a diverse range of projects lately.

As you may know, she wrote lyrics for a popular Broadway play, Kinky Boots, which will tour locally at the Kennedy Center for a month of dates in June-July. But Cyndi herself will be visiting us at Wolf Trap on June 1 as part of a 19-date tour she will launch soon in support of her new album, Detour.

Detour, scheduled for release May 6 via Sire Records, delivers 12 tracks of classic country covers in Cyndi’s unique style. When she announced the album earlier this year, she released her cover of Harlan Howard’s “Heartaches by the Number,” and she followed that up with her cover of Wanda Jackson’s “Funnel of Love.”

Watch the official music video for “Funnel of Love” by Cyndi Lauper on YouTube:

Cyndi’s live Detour show also will feature two classic Patsy Cline songs, “Walkin’ After Midnight” and “I Fall To Pieces.” Other fun songs on the album include a cover of Dolly Parton’s “Hard Candy Christmas” and Willie Nelson’s “Night Life,” a track on which he actually guest stars on the album. I’m sure Cyndi will also treat us to a classic track or two from her days on the charts in the ‘80s if we ask her kindly.

As if that weren’t appealing enough, Cyndi is appearing at Wolf Trap in a double bill with Boy George, who visited us last year with his band Culture Club. And now the bad news: the show is sold out! Perhaps you can scour official resale sites for your chance to go locally, or check out Cyndi’s full tour schedule to see if there is another show near you.

Cyndi Lauper and Boy George
Filene Center at Wolf Trap
Wednesday, June 1
Show @8pm
Sold out
All ages

Music Park: Culture Club @ Wolf Trap — 8/10/15

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Culture Club (Photo by Dean Stockings)

Boy George strode onto stage in an elaborate helmet and a black cloak.

The sparkling gold headpiece looked as if he might have nicked it from an expensive Hollywood production of the story of Cleopatra. He grinned mischievously at the audience at Wolf Trap.

“I had to wrestle Lady Gaga for this,” he said of the headpiece. “She lost. She’s backstage, crying, right now.”

With that, the cheeky singer set off into a performance of “Victims,” a show-stopping tune from his band Culture Club.

And it was absolutely thrilling. When the beat dropped in the song, as it famously does shortly after the 2-minute mark, the audience was completely enraptured by the ode to being a thrall to love. You could feel goosebumps.

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Don’t Miss: Culture Club @ Wolf Trap, 8/10/15

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Culture Club (Photo by Dean Stockings)

Boy George has got the band back together, and Culture Club are touring the United States in support of a new album, Tribes, due next year! On this tour, Culture Club will perform at the Filene Center at Wolf Trap on Monday, August 10.

Mr. George himself stopped by the Conan O’Brien show Monday night to promote the tour, and performed an unusual number. Boy George teamed up with Jack Black and Doors guitarist Robby Krieger in a cover of “Hello, I Love You.”

Watch Boy George and Jack Black sing “Hello, I Love You” with Robby Krieger on CONAN on TBS:

The appearance by Boy George on CONAN was only the latest salvo in Culture Club’s recent media blitz. They appeared on the Today Show on July 2 in the program’s Throwback Thursday Edition of the Toyota Summer Concert Series.

On the Today Show, Culture Club performed “Karma Chameleon”, “Miss Me Blind” and “Do you Really Want To Hurt Me.”

Watch Matt Lauer recap the history of the band and then the performance of the three songs by Culture Club:

And don’t miss Culture Club at Wolf Trap on Monday, August 10. Tickets are available online.

Culture Club
Filene Center at Wolf Trap
Monday, August 10
Show @8pm
$30-60
All ages