Musical Mavens on the Go

June 16th, 2011 by The Professor


The Go-Go’s parade on stage with a catalogue jam

by Radio RockonTour host Timothy Tilghman

The Go-Go’s looked like goners in 2010. Their scheduled Farewell Tour was entirely postponed after Jane Wiedlin injured her leg while hiking a year ago. It’s therefore fitting that God blessed The Go-Go’s in 2011, marking the 30th anniversary of their seminal album Beauty And The Beat. The unanticipated calendar upgrade generated an advantageous twist of fortune after all.

Even though the lovely lassies have developed their own distinct personalities as musicians outgrowing their group association, vocalist Belinda Carlisle, guitarist Charlotte Chaffey, guitarist Jane Wiedlin, bassist Kathy Valentine, and drummer Gina Schock still produce that collective magic to effectively entertain their loyal audiences.

The Go-Go’s brought their beauty & beat to the Feline Center at Wolf Trap in Vienna, Virginia, on Friday, June 10, 2011. A party atmosphere dominated the patrons populating the lawn section. Although the evening heat got more than a little hot, the gyrating women bebopping to the melodic music worked up unrelenting perspiration.

Strutting out onto the stage to burlesque fanfare, Carlisle barked, “Are you ready to rock?”, igniting crowd anticipation. The ladies launched their performance with “Vacation”. An `80’s revival commenced as the female fans sang in unison on the incorrigible chorus.

Valentine introduced Carlisle’s 1985 hit solo single “Mad About You” as having been refashioned into a Go-Go’s styled tune for fan appreciation. Gina Schock stepped forward to quiz the crowd, “Is it hot enough for you?”, soliciting a roar of approval in response. Chaffey wasted no time in prompting Schock to proclaim she was born in neighboring Baltimore. Gina proudly mentioned that her parents and her brother were seated in the audience.

An uncommon surprise in the concert was their cover of The Rolling Stones’ 1966 classic rock single “Mother’s Little Helper”. Carlisle seemed to emphasize the spoken intro, “What a drag it is getting old”, but they dispelled that notion as the feminine quintet rocked on a number the Stones themselves have long since abandoned from their tour repertoire.

Having acknowledged the 30th anniversary of Beauty And The Beat, the band showcased several selections in their setlist from that popular 1981 record. Touring as a nostalgia act in a lethargic economy can forecast risky business, but The Go-Go’s are indeed a unique group that attracts a loyal fanbase.

The closing three numbers, “Our Lips Are Sealed”, “Skidmarks On My Heart”, and “We Got The Beat”, were the perfect trifecta. Schock appeared front and center for a second time during the first encore to introduce her colleagues in the band. The Dollyrots power trio who opened was invited to dance about in freeform on stage.

The Go-Go’s treated the outdoor audience to a second encore of a Wiedlin composition “Fun With Ropes” identified as one of their earliest original songs. Many may not know that The Go-Go’s began their stage career as a punk band at the end of the 1970s. The ladies climaxed in a thrashing crescendo swamped by applause having delivered an energetic romp that left the Vienna crowd still wanting more.

The Go-Go’sĀ Feline Center at Wolf Trap, Vienna, VA, June 10, 2011 setlist: Vacation * Tonite * How Much More * Get Up And Go * Mad About You * Lust To Love * Mother’s Little Helper * Automatic * Fading Fast * Cool Places * This Town * Unforgiven * The Whole World Lost It’s Head * Our Lips Are Sealed * Skidmarks On My Heart * We Got The Beat * 1st Encore: Sur > Beat > Surf * Head Over Heels * 2nd Encore: Fun With Ropes




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