Story & Photographs by Diane Fleischman  

“You may be a small town, but you have a mighty spirit, people”, Cyndi Lauper exclaimed as she closed her set Saturday night at The Sands Event Center to a sold out crowd.  Also on the bill, Boy George, making his return to the Lehigh Valley, and a comedy act performed by Rosie O’Donnell between the two musical performances. 

Supporting her recent release earlier this month, “Detour”, provides a different style of music than the average concert go-er would expect from Lauper.  “Detour” is a tribute album to all the classic country songs Lauper was surrounded by in her childhood.  With the versatility of her vocal range, capturing the classic country sound with all the twang, was not a long shot.  Lauper easily jumped into full country regatta seamlessly while she added a touch of “Lauper-ism” to “Funnel of Love”, and overall, her vocals and style captured was flawless.   

The set moved smoothly between the new and the classic favorites.  Lauper touched upon one of her early memories with her Nana, who had two favorite shows on television, “Queen for a Day”, and “The Arthur Godfrey Show”, the latter, which provided the introduction to Patsy Cline’s, “Walking After Midnight.”  She described her inspiration to “Cowboy Sweetheart” as a memory to all the western Saturday morning cartoon shows she watched, and included “End of The World” from the new release as well. 

Going back to the height of the New Wave heyday, Lauper’s creative spirit was a stand out from the start.  Multi color hair with side razor cuts, and what may have been considered an eccentric wardrobe then, have mellowed somewhat today.  At age 62, Lauper’s non-stop energy continued through her hits performed, “She Bop”,  “Drove All Night”, and “Money Changes Everything.”  During her first encore, she included “Time After Time” and “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”, while joined by Rosie O’Donnell who banged on the drums near center stage.  The crowd wasn’t about to let her go, as she returned to the stage for her second encore, an a cappella  version of “True Colors.”  It was apparent that Cyndi Lauper’s spirit and performance will never age, and for that, we are all truly grateful. 

After a brief intermission, Rosie O’Donnell, longtime friend to both performers, took the stage and gave us a fifteen-minute stand up routine. 

Ready to hit the stage next came Boy George, donned in a long dark patterned jacket, and slightly sparkled gold pants sporting a bright yellow fedora hat.  The tone was set early on with Culture Club hits, “It’s a Miracle” and “I’ll Tumble 4 Ya”, which brought out lots of funk and high energy.   

Boy George was backed with a horn section, full band, and back up singers.  As he introduced “Church of The Poison Mind”, he stated in his best pomp humorous style that we have grown to love and expect, “I think of this song as a blues jam done in high heels, metaphorically speaking.”  Regardless, it brought the audience to their feet, as they clapped, danced, and sang along.   

Plenty of surprises were in store, as Boy George performed his tribute to David Bowie with “Jean Genie”, as he stretched his rich, full, matured vocals.  Also included was a cover of Nancy Sinatra’s hit,  “These Boots Were Made For Walking”, which was performed well, but lacked the panache.    For most Culture Club fans would agree that his vocals flow most fluidly in reggae based songs.  “Reggae music is good, it’s like sunshine”, Boy George stated. 

“The song that started my career, I’ve grown into it in a way,” Boy George explained, as he led into “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me”, and took on a mellower toned down vibe and closed his set. 

Joining Boy George in encore was Cyndi Lauper and they performed The Culture Club hit, “Karma Chameleon” followed by “Bang A Gong” (T. Rex). 

This unique pairing captures the best of the 80’s.  While this special tour is almost ready to close, Cyndi Lauper will continue her Detour Tour well into the fall.  Boy George will rejoin Culture Club on tour this summer.

Story & Photographs by Diane Fleischman