Review: The Human League, B-52s, Fixx, Berlin at the Hollywood Bowl
The Totally '80s Concert at the Hollywood, hosted by Terri Nunn, has finally come and gone, and Stuck in the '80s Nation was there for this incredible event. God help me, I can't believe I'm going to say the following words: I want ... to move ... to Los Angeles. The weather here this weekend has been damn near perfect. The restaurants are killer and the L.A. area friends of Stuck in the '80s are the coolest people on earth. I credit their exceptional personalities on the Santa Ana winds and the $2 bottles of wine at Trader Joe's.
Among the gang assembled outside the Hollywood Bowl on Friday night: Just Drew, Mike from San Antonio, Jim from Australia, Brad from L.A. (and his incredibly tolerant and understanding wife), the great Marty Yu, Alli from Like Totally '80s. I'm missing a ton of names, I know. I'm sorry. It was a whirlwind and I'm only awake this morning thanks to a $4 bottle of diet Coke. So here's what we remember from the actual concert.
BERLIN: it was a surprise to see Terri Nunn and Berlin take the stage first, but it turns out Terri was the "host" for the evening so she had emcee tasks to handle from her set forward. Terri's voice is still incredible, seemingly not at all aged since the '80s. Actually, the entire Terri Nunn has seemingly not aged. Their set was was too short, opening with No More Words and wrapping up with Take My Breath Away.
THE FIXX: Cy Curnin drinks from the same fountain of youth as Terri Nunn. The frontman of The Fixx lead the band through all the hits, opening with Red Skies at Night, and including Deeper and Deeper, One Thing Leads to Another and wrapping up with Saved By Zero, before adding a new song at the end of the set when time permitted. I think The Fixx turned out to be the big surprise of the night. People seemed really surprised at how strong they were live.
B-52s: I'll admit this: I wasn't looking forward to the Athens, Ga., act AT ALL last night. And they blew the whole crowd AWAY. Even with a set list sprinkled with a few too many new songs, nobody would sit down. For an hour and 15 minutes, we got the full catalog of hits. The highlight: I'm gonna say Planet Claire. I remember leaning over to Sean Daly at one point and pointing out, correctly I'm sure, that the B-52s were the first and best incarnation of the Black Eyed Peas, a band I truly detest for their overall lack of talent. They finished up with Love Shack and Rock Lobster, two songs that -- surprise -- are way more fun in concert than on a cold CD.
THE HUMAN LEAGUE: Oh, Phil Oakey. You know I love you, right? We're pals from the old days when I interviewed you before a Las Vegas concert. Time for some tough love, Phil. That setlist last night didn't work ... at all. Opening with a very creepy song from the new album Creedo was a bad move. And front-loading the set with no radio-friendly hits was a joykill. The crowd was lost. It didn't help that the sound suddenly sounded muddy either. And the band just couldn't fill the stage, for lack of a better term. I felt bad for them. They recovered toward the end with Fascination, Human, Don't You Want Me Baby and Electric Dreams. But by then, the majority of the 19,000 in attendance were probably wondering why the B-52s weren't the headliner. I know the Human League's North American tour will be a success, but this was an awkward start.
LOWLIGHTS: Besides the Human League setlist and the too-short set by Berlin, I can't think of any negatives. This was a can't-miss show, justifying the $80 ticket price (for the best seats).
HIGHLIGHTS: Terri Nunn's costume changes, the L.A. weather, the sturdy voice of Cy Curnin, the never-ending fun of the B-52s. Oh, and this bizarre moment. As I'm walking into the venue with my lime-green Stuck in the '80s shirt on, I notice a guy next to me wearing another Stuck in the '80s shirt. He sees me and says, "Whoa, how did you get that shirt?" I swear to god, this is what went down. I said, "I'm Steve Spears..." He flipped out. "Oh my god," he screamed. "I'm Caesar!" And that was the last thing I heard before Berlin took the stage, starting a night of great '80s tunes. Hope you enjoyed the show, Caesar. Drop me a line and always remain stuck in the '80s.