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The Letting It Go Show

“The Letting It Go Show” tour was Totally Rad in Tampa

| Vicky Sullivan |

On Saturday night Mid-Florida Amphitheatre was a sea of 80’s fashion, from mohawks to 80’s Madonnaesque fingerless gloves. MTV t-shirts, including one being worn by yours truly, 80’s bands t-shirts, and the current, wildly popular 80’s Cruise shirts were in attendance.  The audience was widely diverse with multi-generational families, baby boomers, Gen Xer’s and the Generation Z audience. The Gen Z crowd loves the 80’s!  Culture Club’s The Letting It Go Show honors the 80’s with three of the biggest acts that were in heavy rotation on MTV back in the day, and the music is still being played on 80’s radio stations around the country and videos on YouTube.  

The Letting It Go Show

Opening night two of the tour was synth-pop new wave group Berlin.  Terri Nunn appeared in a flowing rust-colored dress with a black bolero jacket. Original members John Crawford on bass and David Diamond on guitar join Nunn. Her vocals are still hitting the high notes. The band jammed. They played a 7-song set that included the 1984 hit “No More Words” and their breakout tune, “The Metro.” Of course, the crowd was waiting to hear that 1986 blockbuster song from the original “Top Gun” soundtrack, “You Take My Breath Away.”   The song won the Academy Award for original song in 1987.  The audience sang along to every word of one of the 80’s biggest songs. Gnarly way to kick off the show!

Culture Club

Next up was virtuoso Howard Jones.  Jones is celebrating 40 years of being one of the electronic pioneers of the 80’s. Howard has continued to tour and make new music, including playing with Ringo Starr’s All-Star Band. He played “Live Aid” in 1985 at London’s Wembley Stadium.  Howard writes music for movies and TV.   For this tour, he is celebrating his 80’s hits, and we are celebrating them too! Howard opening with two upbeat, fun tunes, “Like to Get to Know You Well” and “Everlasting Love”.  I wondered why Howard had a cover of Kajagoogoo’s “Too Shy” on the setlist until I found out his radical bassist Nick Beggs, who plays the Chapman stick, is a member of Kaja! Howard gave the excited crowd his best with “No One Is to Blame” and closed with an extended version of the hopeful “Things Can Only Get Better,” which is a much-needed reminder of the fun 80’s!  

The hosts of the evening Culture Club opened with Boy George appearing on a lighted stairway in a yellow polka-dotted jacket and high yellow hat.  They opened with their newest music released in 2022, the upbeat “Next Thing Will Be Amazing,” which was followed by the classics “It’s A Miracle and “I’ll Tumble 4 Ya.”  A rarity was “Melodrama,” an unreleased duet with George and Vangelis Polydorou, who was a member of George’s UK Voice team in 2016. Since then, Vangelis has been working as a backup singer with George and Culture Club.  A 70’s cover of Bread’s “Everything I Own” was fine, but honestly, as a fan, I would rather hear “Black Money,” “Victims,” or “That’s the Way.” Great Culture Club ballads!

The Letting It Go Show

“Church of the Poison Mind” medley with George Michael’s “I’m Your Man” was totally awesome! George did not make any costume changes, probably due to the heat and humidity of the night. No, I haven’t forgotten the other two original members of CC, Mikey Craig on bass and Roy Hay on lead guitar.  They are a constant all through the show, playing and conversing with fans.  George talks about naming the tour “The Letting It Go Show” because he is still working on letting stuff go in his life.  Closing out the set with a rousing version of “Miss Me Blind.”  Coming back for the encore, George also says the “80’s were great, but he loves the 70’s, where he learned music and lyrics”. The band launches into a cover of The Stones “Sympathy for the Devil,” after which George says, “When I grow up, I want to be Mick Jagger!” Another cover pays homage to T. Rex with “Bang A Gong (Get It On). Closing out the show, was 1983’s gigantic worldwide hit “Karma Chameleon.”    A fun summer tour with artists who are loyal to their past, celebrate it, and continue to tour and make new music. Tour dates at Boy George and Culture Club.

Photos Courtesy of Vicky Sullivan

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