Culture Club at the Paramount
November 14, 2017
Culture Club was formed in 1981 when lead vocalist Boy George, who had been a member of Bow Wow Wow (where he was billed as Lieutenant Lush), enlisted guitarist and keyboard player Roy Hay, bassist Mikey Craig and drummer Jon Moss. With the band members in place, the musicians realized they had gay Irish lead singer, a black British bass player, a Caucasian guitarist, and a Jewish drummer, they decided to christen themselves as Culture Club.
The band has scored a number of worldwide hits with "Church of the Poison Mind," "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?," "I'll Tumble 4 Ya," "It's a Miracle," "Karma Chameleon," "Miss Me Blind," "Move Away," "The War Song," and "Time (Clock of the Heart)." During its career, Culture Club has sold more than 150 million records and ten of its singles have graced the U.S. Top 40.
On a pleasant mid-November evening, Culture Club turned back the clock for its legions of fans who packed Huntington, NY’s The Paramount. The night began with Long Island’s own Kevin Edmond Burke playing a short set that featured songs from his self-released EP Waiting Season (2015) and a fantastic soulful cover of Elvis Costello’s ”Allison.”
After a short intermission, Culture Club took the stage with Moss launching into a powerful version of "Church of the Poison Mind." As the audience applauded, Hay, Craig, and the backing musicians chimed in on the rocking tune. At the very last moment, just before the opening vocals were to be sung, Boy George arrived on stage. Dressed in a custom-made suit with debonair top hat, Boy George commanded the stage from the moment he appeared.
The party was in full force as Boy and the band delivered note-perfect versions of “It’s a Miracle,” “I’ll Tumble 4 Ya,” “Black Money” and a jazzy, Culture Club-ified version of the Rolling Stones’ “You Can’t Always get What You Want.” Other highlights included: “Everything I Own,” “Miss Me Blind,” “More Than Silence,” the band’s newest song, “Bitchface,” “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?” (which had the house rockin’ and the crowd dancing) and the set closers “Victims” and “The War Song.”
For the encore, the band delivered a rocking, sing-along version of "Karma Chameleon" that had the entire audience on its feet clapping, singing and dancing. What followed was a special moment, a group of covers that gave the audience members another chance to sing along and bop to the beat—a cover of Prince’s “Purple Rain” followed by a tour-de-force version of T. Rex’s signature song “Bang A Gong (Get It On).” As the lights came up, the band members took their bows and left the stage. The audience, which was mostly composed of baby-boomers who discovered the band back in the day when WLIR and WDRE played its songs when they were brand new, gave them a loud, long and resounding ovation.
It was a fantastic evening. Boy George was in fine voice. The band was tight and focused. The large band played slightly updated versions of the classics, adding changes and flourishes gave the songs a fresh feel…and the crowd loved it.