Grand in Las Vegas. The tour was organized and headlined by Cyndi Lauper to raise awareness (and funds) for gay and lesbian rights, and was co-sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign, The Matthew Shepherd Foundation, PFLAG, and a few others. Opening night featured performances by The Dresden Dolls, the Indigo Girls, Debbie Harry, Erasure, and Cyndi Lauper.
Margaret Cho was the emcee of the event, and she did such a great job that my fear of a lot of down-time between acts was never realized. Cho did stand-up and smoothly tied all the performances together, with nary a moment to be bored. Special surpise guest Rosie O’Donnell also popped in for a stand-up session, and later played percussion on a few Cyndi Lauper songs.
All the bands were super, although I guess I’m getting old because I thought Debbie Harry was just too loud. I’m going to end up being the dork with wearing my Bose Noise-Cancelling headphones at future concerts I attend. Dresden Dolls were the first act to perform, and although I’d really never heard of them before, I thought they were entrancing. Their performance was simple yet theatrical, and my eyes were glued to the stage the entire time.
For some reason, the venue didn’t offer the show on video screens (even though the video screens were present), so I unfortunately wasn’t able to fully appreciate the Dolls’ costumes and facial expressions. I’ve had two of their songs, “Coin-Operated Boy” and “Sex Changes” stuck in my head since the show ended (I think they also played “Shores of California” and “Girl Anachronism”, but I’m a new fan so don’t bet money on that).
Indigo Girls were next, celebrating almost twenty years of touring. They played four songs together (“Closer to Fine”, “Shame on You”, “Pendulum Swinger”, and “Galileo”), and Amy Ray performed one solo piece on a mandolin (I believe… my knowledge of instruments is a bit generalized), “Let it Ring”. They were wonderful, as they always are, and I was glad they were able to appear at the Vegas show. They start a tour of their own next week, which I assume is why they only appeared in Las Vegas.
Debbie Harry performed with a full band, debuting songs from an as-yet-unreleased album. Some of the songs were quite good and catchy, and a couple of them were pretty awful. I thought her performance was stiff and stilted, but my partner says that even in her younger years, Harry was never a very animated singer. She’ll probably improve as the tour continues, as she and the band had a couple of glitches and miscommunications, and continued practice should fix that.
I don’t know anything about Erasure except that I’ve heard many of their songs on the radio, but they were pure, shiny techno. Their staging was like something from Star Trek, all silver and glitter, with three background vocalists who were illuminated in a way which make them look as if Scotty was about to beam them up. Andy Bell sounded great, is a great dancer, and a fun performer. I’m happy I had the chance to see them, and I’d definitely see them again if I had the opportunity.
Cyndi Lauper closed the show, which lasted a little over four hours. If you’ve ever seen Lauper perform before, she was her usual funny and spontaneous self. She sang her classics, like “Money Changes Everything”, “I Drove All Night”, “The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough”, “Girls Just Want To Have Fun”, and a very cool and dark arrangement of “She-Bop”. She introduced a couple of songs as “being new”, so I assume that means “unreleased”. The show closed with all the performers singing a group version of “True Colors”, as well as a cover of ABBA’s “Take a Chance on Me”.
I’m sorry I can’t provide more detailed set lists for Debbie Harry, Erasure, and Cyndi Lauper. They each sang at least ten songs, and I’d gotten to the point of brain overload and couldn’t remember any more information. I can tell you that Erasure did not sing, “Master and Servant”, because that’s a song by Depeche Mode, which shows you how well informed I am about these things. I happen to know every single lyric to every Indigo Girls’ song every recorded, and that’s how I used up all my little grey cells.
There was an afterparty held at Studio 54, and the audience was invited to attend, but my partner and I didn’t because of the high cover charge ($40 each), as well as the fact we’re generally old and sleepy. A video of the “red carpet” outside of the club appeared on the website “Raw Vegas” today, but only Margaret Cho, Andy Bell of “Erasure”, and The Dresden Dolls are interviewed. I don’t know if that means they were the only ones in attendance.
The True Colors Tour runs until the end of June, keeping up a crazy schedule of fifteen cities in 22 days. I’m already plotting about how I could attend the final show in Los Angeles on June 30th.
Review written by: Leigh Ann Gerow