B52’s Foxwoods Casino Ledyard, CT Sunday January 31, 2017
Way back when the B52s were one of those bands you’d get picked on for liking. Back in the early 80s the mainstream Journey fans would torment those New Wave kids for being weirdos. My love of the band started early and strangely. A family of David Bowie fans of course forced me to love him as well. A music magazine (was it rolling stone? Trouser Press? I have no idea) showed a debonair Bowie speaking with some woman in a weird wig and retro clothing and my curiosity was triggered. Who was this girl and why did she look so cool? Come to find out after a bit of digging it was Kate Pierson of an Athens band called The B52s.
Which lead me to my record store and the purchase of a yellow album with some crazy cats on the front. Jumbo padded headphones on, place the needle on the groove.. and off I went into the weirdest non drug induced trip I had ever had. A happy bopping beat with odd squeaks and twitters. Much different from the moody predictability of the music I was used to. I was 13 and a freshman in high school and so began my adventures in alternative. All it took was a fan mag and $7.99 for an album.
Flash forward 35+ years and here I am in a disgusting casino surrounded by the exact Journey fans who tormented me ‘back in the day’ who suddenly are in this hall to see the group whose big hit “Love Shack”, made the genre party music instead of alternative music. I often look at people with disdain but part of me wants these ‘posers’ ushered out. Are they fans? High Rollers on comp tickets? Does anyone know anything but “Love Shack’?
But what about the group? Fred Schneider, Kate Pierson, Cindy Wilson have well, aged. So, have I, but tonight was New Years Eve so everything is more magical right?
Well sorta. Fred, well he has morphed into a really angry Charles Nelson Reilly. He’s bitter and well he didn’t look like he was having much fun. During “Dance This Mess Around” he threw in ‘do the alt right’ and began that whole Hitler salute thing. Dude…no. Cindy, adorable in a super short butchy platinum ‘do and Spanx so tight it was no wonder she was no longer hitting those screechy notes she’s famous for. The poor woman can’t breathe in those things. Rounder, paler, and aged… she just plain wasn’t feeling it. I honestly think it was the sausage suit. I can attest that if your garments are too tight you basically just want out of them, even if you have a crowded venue in front of you. This leads us to Ms Kate Pearson. Scarlet haired goddess who AT AGE 69 single handedly carried this gig. Her voice was magical her audience interaction just right and her energy level far surpassing the off-beat bongo of Wilson and the angry cowbell of Schneider. She smiled, she ponied she showed that aging doesn’t have to be old and she was so incredibly charismatic that I honestly believe the only reason I survived this gig was her presence.
The setlist? A drag, well until the encore where we got the 2 of the songs I had prayed they would play “6060842” and nifty “Planet Claire”. “Rock Lobster” showed up but with such hum drum ‘over it’ presentation the I found my coat. I won’t even get into the ‘bikini whale’ stuff, I’m still in awe that Pierson is nearly 70, bless her heart.
I’m disappointed I never got to see the group ‘in the day’, their tour dates never worked with my schedule, but I am very happy I saw them this go round if only as a gentle reminder that time waits for no one. Schneider the angry queen, Wilson the soccer Gran a backup band of no names and blandness and Kate Pierson, who may just be my source on how to age gracefully and beautifully.