This past Thursday I had the chance to finally catch one of my favorite bands, the Go-Go’s, in concert at The Fillmore in Philadelphia, which, incidentally, happens to be a pretty awesome venue for live bands. There were two opening acts – Kaya Stewart and Best Coast – after which the Go-Go’s took the stage opening with their 1982 hit “Vacation”, and then it was just a barrage of hit after rocking hit. They delved into their pre-pop punk roots, aside from playing almost all of their hits. They did Belinda’s “Mad About You” and “Cool Places” by Sparks, a tune from 1983 that featured Go-Go’s guitarist Jane Wiedlin, as well as their well known rendition of The Capitols “Cool Jerk” from 1966. From beginning to end they had the house dancing and singing, and for a bunch of girls in their late 50s (and one in her early 60s) they rocked like they were in their early twenties, and with no lack of sex appeal. In a nutshell, they were awesome.
For me, one of the highest high points was when they came out for their encore opening with the Miley Cyrus hit “Wrecking Ball”, which they not only owned, but – at least from my interpretation – made a much bolder statement; the Go-Go’s still got it, and respect to Miley, and we’ll pass that torch except we’re not sure we’re done with it yet.
Farewell tour my ass.
Admittedly I’m no concert reviewer, and seldom post this sort of thing to my blog. But since I do know a thing or two about music, let me tell you how it is… the Go-Go’s are to the 1980s what Bill Haley & His Comets are to the 1950’s, and perhaps more profoundly to Rock & Roll in general. Just as the game-changing “Rock Around The Clock” played over the opening credits of Blackboard Jungle in 1955, so did “We Got The Beat” play over the opening credits of Fast Times at Ridgemont High in 1982. Both different movies, but both equally significant generational time capsules in their own right. The Go-Go’s “We Got The Beat” is a 1980s teen anthem.
And if owning an 80s teen anthem isn’t enough (in all fairness, there are several), they are the first all-girl Rock band… ever. No, Heart had guys in the band and so did all that came before the Go-Go’s. Their drummer Gina Schock rocks the big beat as good as any arena band drummer, Charlotte Caffey is an uber musician and songwriter (she wrote “We Got The Beat”), Jane Wiedlin is still the very definition of punk while Belinda Carlisle is the front girl of front girls. As for former bassist Kathy Valentine who opted out of this tour, I still hear ya on the record.
Yet the Go-Go’s are more than just the first all-girl Rock & Roll band, and more than just the very spirit of the 1980s… The are awesome, and my only regret is not paying the $200.00 to have my picture taken with the band.
Maybe on the next farewell tour. Love ya girls.
P.S. Hey Rolling Stone… Why aren’t the Go-Go’s in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame yet? C’mon Jann.