Chuffed About The Boy

Story By: G. H. HARDING
Boy George In 1985

With visions of London’s King’s Road circa 1985 in my mind, I witnessed Culture Club’s return to NYC Monday night at The Beacon Theatre and despite some rough patches, really enjoyed it. Formed in 1981, the band comprised Boy George (lead vocals),Mikey Craig (bass guitar), Roy Hay (guitar and keyboards) and Jon Moss (drums and percussion). Their second album, Colour by Numbers, sold more than 10 million copies worldwide and has been certified triple platinum in the UK and quadruple platinum in the US. It was ranked No. 96 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 100 Best Albums of the 1980s and is also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

The band enjoyed a goldmine of hits, including the songs "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me", "Time (Clock of the Heart)", "I'll Tumble 4 Ya", "Church of the Poison Mind", "Karma Chameleon", "Miss Me Blind", "Victims", "It's a Miracle", "The War Song", "Move Away", and "I Just Wanna Be Loved." 

Monday, the re-formed bunch kicked off with my personal favorite, “Church of then Poisoned Miond’ and took off from there. With a 13-piece band, including 3 sultry backup singers, adored with hats red, gold and green of course, and a horn section, the band sounded really good; with Hay really standing out on guitar and keyboards.

George, after years of substance abuse and well documented personal travails, doesn’t hit those high notes like he used too, but his charm was undeniable and he knew he had the crowd in the palm of his hand.

The original, vintage videos, played almost constantly on the back screen; which I found to be a bit distracting. Great to see them again, but non-almost non-stop was a bit much.

Caitlyn Jenner introduced Boy George and the reformed Culture Club at the Greek Theatre in Hollywood last week. She then took her front-row seat in the audience, where she danced with new friend Candis Cayne, the first transgender actress to appear on a prime time network show.

The Club also played some new songs, destined to end up on their next album, "Tribes," which is due out next year. The most impressive of the lot was "More Than Silence," which came at the start of the encore. One song, “Like I Used To,” I felt was the strongest of the bunch with some great lyrics. Apparently, the creative train appears to be still moving.

They also performed another personal favorite, the theme from the brilliant 1992 movie “The Crying Game.” That was an overlooked classic for certain.

Yet, the most impressive song -- as well as the overall night -- was Culture Club's cover of David Bowie's "Starman.” Actor Jack Black performed with them on "Starman" in L. A., but there were no such guest appearances this time around. Still, it was a treat to see George tip his hat to one of his musical idols. And, a perfect-Bowie song to boot.

"Without David Bowie in 1972, I could've wound up a very boring chap," he said to the crowd.

Culture Club redeux? Loved it!