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cultureclub_lifePalladium, Cologne, Germany
4th December 2018
Boy George & Culture Club - “Life” Tour

BOY GEORGE and his band CULTURE CLUB played all big hits at the Palladium in Cologne. The flamboyant Blitz boy from 1980s has become downright reputable. Surprisingly, the man of 1,000 faces, the pinup boy refused the photo permission for accredited photographers at the door... In other words, this is just a written review of a band that used to be as graphical as musical…

When the British New Wave band CULTURE CLUB celebrated worldwide success in the 1980s, their front man was in the limelight. BOY GEORGE (George Alan O'Dowd) advanced with his extravagant, emphasized androgynous style to one of the most colourful personalities of the pop world and an idol to the LGBTQ community. “The opinions about the singer and songwriter with the shrill make-up and the soft cuddly songs range from indignation to euphoria,” wrote the magazine Playboy in 1985. In contrast, the appearance of the 57 year old George is nowadays almost conservative - Attracting attention at any price no longer seems to be the credo of the singer.

Since last year, the band - now called BOY GEORGE & CULTURE CLUB - is on a big tour named “Life”. After an unofficial separation and a short reunion in the late 90s, the musicians are since 2014 again in original cast together. This year they released ‘Life’, their first album since 19 years. Germany was honoured with two concerts. On Tuesday it was Cologne’s turn, one day later Berlin. However, the fans had to put up with a small downside: drummer Jon Moss is missing at the European dates. Officially, it is said that he spends time with his family. Not a few suspect a renewed dispute between George and Moss. Both had a love affair in the 80s, the end of which drove the singer into drug addiction, as he had said. /

Music & Performance
The show started at 20:05. CULTURE CLUB took the stage without the original drummer Jon Moss. This did not surprise the most fervent fans since he left the tour in the United States several months ago. Unofficial versions say that the differences between George and Jon took over the musical part, making the band’s coexistence almost impossible. The three original members: Boy George (lead singer), Roy Hay (Guitar & Piano) and Mickey Craig (guitar base) were supported by an extended line-up (drummer, percussionist, saxophonist and four backing vocals). George in a black coat with some golden and pink extras, a bit of make-up and of course the obligatory hat – that’s just the extravagance that George displayed in the half-filled Palladium in Cologne. And the rest of the show was surprisingly unspectacular - there were no video screens, a light show at most sporadically, but extremely coherent.

Musically, in addition to the world hits ‘Time (Clock of the Heart)’, ‘It’s A Miracle’ and of course ‘Do You Really Want to Hurt Me’ and ‘Karma Chameleon’ also many new songs played well. In addition, three covers had sneaked into the set with ‘Everything I Own’ (Bread) recorded by George on his solo career, ‘Get It On’ (T-Rex) and ‘Let's Dance’ (David Bowie). And although George’s appearance almost came along for everyday use, he was still the centre of the action. Charmingly he enthralled the audience and was in a good mood. “You are beautiful,” he threw to his fans as the light briefly brightened the room. And the fact that there were significantly more men than women among the audience, he acknowledged with a wink: “Yes, I know, we are in Cologne.”

01. God & Love
02. It's a Miracle
03. Let Somebody Love You
04. Time
05. Everything I Own (Bread cover)
06. Runaway Train
07. Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?
08. Victims
09. What Does Sorry Mean?
10. The War Song
11. Different Man
12. Miss Me Blind
13. Church of the Poison Mind
14. Give Me Life
15. Let’s Dance (David Bowie cover)
16. Get It On (T. Rex cover)
17. Karma Chameleon

Music: 7
Performance: 6
Sound: 7
Light: 6
Total: 6.5 / 10

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