When the weather turns especially warm, the time is right for reunion tours and golden oldies nights, and on this muggy evening in July, the Go-Go’s fit the bill. The first self-contained all-female rock ensemble ever to top the charts has reunited to play a brief summer tour. This concert was their first local appearance since 1989 and their first in a large L.A. venue in 15 years. But you’d never know that these five women were once groundbreakers on this night — at $35 a ticket and $27 per T-shirt, these one-time New Wave-pop queens are now just another high-priced bit of nostalgia on the summer boards.
Opening with the semi-instrumental “Surfin’ and Spying” and segueing into “Head Over Heels,” the band established its patented perky groove, albeit slowed down a notch, and despite an abbreviated rehearsal schedule (Carlisle missed the first two weeks of the band’s reunion practices), they were suitably disciplined.
Sticking mostly to the songs from their debut disc “Beauty and the Beat” and their radio hits, the Go-Go’s turned in a standard set with a few interesting exceptions. Dipping back into the songbook of their club days, they performed the punked out, X-like “Fun With Ropes,” as well as the Capitols oldie “Cool Jerk,” complete with Carlisle’s hilarious patter and parody lyrics about the true intention of their reunion (“We need big bucks for tummy tucks,” explained the singer). Instrumentally, the group was carried by powerful drummer Gina Schock and the surprisingly raunchy lead guitar work of Charlotte Caffrey, whose fills sounded like a surfed-out Johnny Thunders or a crazed Duane Eddy — good show!
Backup dancers, a slightly extended “We Got the Beat” (with Carlisle blowing the lyrics and losing it on the high notes), “Turn to You” with cocktail lounge jazz introduction — it’s the stuff a one-off get together is made of.
The rain stayed away, the audience sang and danced in their seats, and the Go-Go’s are halfway to the facelifts and boob jobs Carlisle claimed they’re working for. What else could you want?