Tonight we had a voyage into the unknown at the Shaw Theatre for BOY GEORGE: SONGS THAT MAKE YOU DANCE AND CRY.
The last time Owen and I saw George was at Koko about a year ago and he was..well... skittish on stage. I suspect he was feeling no pain. So we were a little worried about how he was going to be tonight, the last show of his week-long residency at the Shaw Theatre. No worries this time... he was in great form and was backed by a fine band including his regular co-writers Kevan Frost and John Themis.
He opened with 2 of his recent ragga-style songs - I think they are "Czech's In The Post" and "Only You" - which led naturally into "Everything I Own" and any worries were soon gone. He was smiling, chatty and in great voice.
He dipped into all areas of his back catalogue - from Culture Club, Jesus Loves You and, happily, we had four songs from his score for TABOO - "Stranger In This World", "Petrified" - a truly magnificent song, Lizzie his backing singer torched the arse out of "Talk Among Yourselves" and in the encores George had great fun with "Ode To Attention Seekers" - a song he admitted he had never sung before an audience before!
Of course we got "Do You Really Want To Hurt Me" and a Country & Western "Karma Chameleon" but we also were treated to a great rock-out version of "Church of The Poisoned Mind" and George's old friend Zee Asha sung a jaw-dropping version of "Time (Clock Of The Heart)". I thought something while she was singing and it has stayed with me so... here it is... Zee Asha has the voice most people think Alison Moyet has. How's that for a throwdown? She raised the roof. She came on later to duet with George on the old CC track "That's The Way"... Helen Terry who?
Again proving what a great songwriter he is George sang "Cheapness & Beauty", "Unfinished Business", a lovely "Losing Control" and a couple of songs I recognise from previous gigs "Vote For Love" and "Shadow Boxing"
He threw in a couple of covers: a stonking version of "Suffragette City" had me wondering how often the young George O'Dowd had sang that into a mirror in the 70's, a smoky and jazzy "Summertime", a rolling version of "I Need A Little Sugar In My Bowl" - maybe George is the natural successor to George Melly as the modern interpreter of the songs of Bessie Smith and Ma Rainey?
He brought the whole of the Shaw to it's feet with a rousing "This Little Light Of Mine" which was beyond Church and the evening ended with an anthemic "Bow Down Mister" and the lights came up on me grinning loudly!