Thursday, October 09, 2014

Bangles Kick It Old School at City Winery NYC

You know how every time you go to see one of your favorite bands they're promoting a new album? And even if you sincerely like it, you still feel a little resentful of the fact that six to 10 songs, depending on how charitable they're feeling, were taken up on the setlist for the new stuff? Well that was certainly the case the last two times I saw my beloved Bangles, in 2011 on the "Sweetheart of the Sun" tour and at the House of Blues in West Hollywood in the early oughts for "Doll Revolution." But when I bought tickets for their recent stop in New York City, I had a feeling I was in for a treat. Not only were they not promoting a new LP, I had heard rumblings about an upcoming release that was a compilation of their more obscure -- pre-compact disc -- recordings, a CD that my Greg and I had already produced a decade ago. Cut to Monday night, where my VIP ticket included a wine and cheese mixer with the gals, followed by a raucous -- rock-ass? -- evening that was even more thrilling than I could have anticipated. 

The meet 'n' greet started out like a clusterfuck, with everyone lining up to get into this back part of the place -- the venue is an actual winery in Lower Manhattan, and is deceptively huge -- and the so-called organizers having nothing planned. Susanna Hoffs -- stunning as ever -- immediately slipped into Mom Mode (she and "Meet the Parents" director Jay Roach have two sons), deciding the band's table needed to be moved to the back so there would be enough room for the fans to sidle up to them for a pic-with, and the line should go to the right, so the food and drinks table wasn't being obstructed. (It was adorable seeing her in action!) From there, the wine started flowing and the finger food started going around -- only I couldn't see waiting 30 years to meet the Bangles and having salami breath so passed. 

When I got my moment with the gals, it dawned on me as I was approaching their cafe table that it was almost exactly 30 years since I had first seen them in concert, when they opened for the Psychedelic Furs on the "Mirror Moves" tour in 1984. "All Over the Place" had just come out, and I was even more in love with the band than I was after the previous EP.

The mere mention of the tour seemed to stir up a lot of memories, then they mentioned -- thinking I was a Native New Yorker -- that the Radio City Music Hall show was their first-ever gig in New York City and how nervous they had been. When I mentioned I'd actually seen them in Arizona, Vicki said, "Close enough!" and they all laughed. I had already gotten a chuckle out of them earlier when I offered to sign Michael Steele's signature for a female fan with no self-awareness who had brought (what seemed like) 50 things to be autographed. 

When I got back to the table, I was so happy/relieved -- I had tried to track Sue down a half-dozen times at City Winery during her "Under the Covers" gigs and solo appearances to no avail -- then my friend Jacob arrived and the fun was just beginning. When the show kicked off with a rowdy rendition of "Hazy Shade of Winter," I had a good feeling about things. But when back-to-back "AOTP" places songs -- Vicki kicking ass and taking names on "He's Got a Secret" and Susanna's plaintive "James" -- were followed by their first-ever single, "Getting Out of Hand," then all five songs of the '83 EP plus more "AOTP" and all the hits (except "Walking Down Your Street"), I thought I'd pass out from excitement! Perhaps the highlight of the evening, as always with them, is when Debbi comes out front to sing lead on "Going Down to Liverpool." Although Susanna has a splendid voice, she -- like Stevie Nicks, another favorite -- harmonizes so beautifully that it's almost more enjoyable than having her on lead, as she takes the song to a whole new level.

While I've heard they did a second encore of "Dover Beach" in some cities, I really wasn't in a position to complain when they ended with their two biggest hits. In addition to having a nearly written-for-me setlist, I also ran into a dear friend I knew through my late pal Larry who I hadn't seen in ages, and my plus-one surprised me with a bottle of Bangles signature Zinfandel wine after the show. 

I'll drink to that!

Keep up with the latest tour dates HERE.

Will be curious to see if the new Bangles CD can compare with my friend Greg's and mine!

1 comment:

SSSDC1 said...

"Call on Me" is my go-to obscure track to spring on the unsuspecting masses when I DJ garage or jangle-pop nights.