Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Cyndi Lauper does the blues

Just in case you haven't been paying attention, Cyndi Lauper recently released a blues album and is on a rare tour. We saw her on Wednesday night at the Oregon Zoo. The last time she was in Portland, she was pregnant with her son...who is now 12!

The legendary blues man Charlie Musselwhite opened for Lauper--not being a blues groupie, I didn't know much about him, but he was amazing. Then he joined her band for the rest of the concert.

The first half of her set featured songs off her blues album. Here's a tiny taste (that's Charlie playing the harp):



Here's another taste:



Then she sang some of her oldies, updated and bluesy--they were awesome! Here is an example, of Girls Just Wanna Have Fun:



According to Wikipedia (which I know is not 100% accurate), Lauper changed the lyrics of "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun," because she thought the original words were misogynistic, and she wanted it to be more of an anthem. Here's the
original video from the 1980s!

When she started "Girls," everyone in the zoo got to their feet. I can't remember the last time we went to a concert when everyone was dancing and singing along. (I recall those sticks-in-the-mud at the Elton John/Billy Joel concert!!)

Lauper was a consummate entertainer, chatting with the crowd as if we were all sitting around in her living room. At one point, she lectured the people in front of the stage for taking videos of her, saying that they should be enjoying the concert instead of filming. She told inspiring and funny stories and was very encouraging to people who might be feeling down about themselves. (She also said that she was voted "most likely to die" in high school!) She often invited the audience to sing with her, and she shook hands with the people in the mosh pit.


From my guilty pleasure (watching "Celebrity Apprentice"), I know that Lauper speaks her mind and has a truly good heart (she didn't sink to throwing people under the bus like many of the others did). She's rough around the edges, with a strong New York accent, but she is inspiring and talented. (What a range!)

The other unique thing she did was to have her entire band come out to the front of the stage, and they took several bows together. I don't remember seeing a solo artist do that before. She conveyed respect and admiration for her band and was not a diva in the least.

At the end of the concert, she gave a passionate speech about the "community" (GLBT) and sang this song to end the show:


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