Buying tickets for Book of Love's 30th anniversary gig Thursday at Highline Ballroom turned out to be the best last-minute decision I've made since I dyed my hair like Limahl before the Pretenders concert at the ASU Activity Center in 1984. With my favorite local band -- Fever High -- opening and all four original Book of Love members reunited for the first time in forever, the concert left me smiling from ear to ear, feeling like I was 17 all over again. Fever High quickly got the skeptical crowd dancing and begging for more with a compact opening set that included all the songs from the band's new EP -- available now HERE -- as well as a couple new ones.
Then Susan and Ted Ottaviano (no relation), Lauren Roselli and Jade Lee emerged, looking overjoyed by the warm response before overjoying the crowd with an album-perfect rendition of "Modigliani (Lost in Your Eyes)" from their classic debut. From there they did two album tracks from the same release -- "Still Angry" and "Happy Day" followed by two from "Candy Carol" (my sometimes favorite LP of theirs) -- "Alice Everyday" and "Counting the Rosaries" (with Lauren on lead). "Lost Souls" came next, followed by the fab new single, "All Girl Band," off their just-released remastered "30th Anniversary Collection" (available HERE). "You Make Me Feel So Good" was next -- and was kind of the theme song of the evening, getting the crowd even more riled up.
Then Ted took center stage to thank his many fans for supporting the group after all these years, noting how his whole life he dreamed of being in an all-girl band and his dreams came true. He then launched into "With a Little Love," asking the audience for "a little help."
After a quick costume change, Susan -- now pretty in red -- returned for Mike Oldfield's "Tubular Bells," then the classic one-two-three punch of "Pretty Boys and Pretty Girls." "Boy" (uh-huh!) and "Book of Love," which had the crowd all but singing lead.
For the encore, the entire band whipped out bouquets of roses for "I Touch Roses" -- most of them were tossed to the crowd, but Ted made a point of handing one to my Damian -- then they all donned witches hats for "Witchcraft," which ended things craftily enough. Susan noted at the beginning of the show that the four of them hadn't played together in New York since the band's earliest days as wayward art students -- then half-joked as they left the stage, "See you again in 30 years!" Let's hope she was indeed joking. But in case she's not, don't miss them this time around in case it really is the Book end.
All work for Fever High.
Tantalized by Reni Lane and Anna Nordeen ...