I started off my summer of 1980s concerts with two of the best: Cyndi Lauper and Boy George! They played seven shows together, and I saw the last of the seven shows at Wolf Trap last night in Virginia. It was a great show. I thought I would enjoy Cyndi Lauper more, but I actually enjoyed Boy George’s set more. I have loved Cyndi since 1983 (the same time I fell in love with Madonna) with the release of She’s So Unusual – I even remember buying that tape. And Boy George (really Culture Club) I of course remember the hits, but I have no real memory of buying the tape or any real connection like I did with Cyndi. I am not sure if it was Cyndi’s four country songs (off her new album Detour) or the fact she went second and I was getting tired or her six minute story, but I enjoyed Boy George’s set so much more. I have nothing bad to say about Cyndi’s set, it’s just that I expected to like hers more than Boy George’s and was surprised it was the opposite. Both sets were fantastic, and I am pretty sure the sold out crowd at Wolf Trap would agree with me!
I left my office at 2:35 and arrived at Wolf Trap at 4:00. That’s what you have to do when you live in Maryland and attend a concert in Virginia on a weeknight. DC traffic, specifically 495 is terrible. As soon as I got off 95 onto 495, it was stop and go traffic all the way around to until 267. (When I go back in September to see Bryan Adams, I am leaving at 2:00 at the latest since it’s a Friday.) Luckily the parking at Wolf Trap is free and it is a national park, so it is open all day. Gates did not open until 6:30, so I had over two hours to wait – and I wasn’t the first person there. I was probably the first person with a seat there, but the lawn folks were there early to line up to ensure a close spot.
There were three entrances to the parking lot, but I had no idea which one would be the exit after the concert since they usually close off a few. So I took my chances and parked right next to one I thought the most likely would lead me out of the parking lot – of course I would find out later I was wrong. Oh well. Then I watched to see where people were walking because there were two different directions they were going – you can not see the Filene Center from the parking lot. After tweeting, posting pics on Instagram, responding to comments on Facebook and reading (yeah I know how to tailgate!), I noticed it was already 5:30pm. The time really had flown by.
Around 6:00 I decided to start my trek to wait in line for the gates to open at 6:30. All I was concerned with was going to the bathroom and eating. By 6:40 I was finally through the gates – four hours after I had left work and two hours before the concert would start. I headed straight for the bathroom and then to eat. My $21. meal consisted of a bacon cheeseburger, chips and huge no-ice Gold Peak sweet tea. It was definitely overpriced, but kept me full and caffeinated throughout the night. Luckily I met two very nice women (Calla and Ann) from Baltimore (originally from Toronto), and we chatted passing the time quickly. Calla is a big Elvis fan, so I am sure we’ll stay in touch. I was in my seat by 7:45 about halfway up in the orchestra far left on the aisle, so there was a nice breeze although both Cyndi Lauper and Boy George kept complaining about how hot it was. It was a little humid, but only 75 degrees by 11pm – it was quite a pleasant night actually. A DJ played for about 15 minutes including a moment of silence for Prince.
Boy George took the stage at 8:15 and played until 9:23. His band of course took the stage first, so Boy George could make a grand entrance. The band was fantastic – and huge. There was a horn section, harmonica player and a girl backup group much like Elvis’ Sweet Inspirations – they even stood in the same spot. (Is Boy George an Elvis fan? But then again, isn’t everyone?) Boy George’s voice was perfect, the same beautiful tone it was in the 1980s, and he’s such a showman – a great, positive energy. He really loves his fans and interacts with them a lot, including dedicating songs to certain ones he sees in the audience. I truly enjoyed Boy George’s set and would definitely see him again or Culture Club the next time they come to town.
The set list for Boy George at Wolf Trap in Virginia on June 1, 2016:
Funtime (a David Bowie / Iggy Pop cover)
It’s a Miracle
I’ll Tumble 4 Ya
Church of the Poison Mind (fantastic backup singers on this one!)
The Jean Genie (David Bowie cover – brought me back to U2 360 in Raleigh)
These Boots are Made for Walkin (Nancy Sinatra cover that the audience loved!)
Everything I Own (Bread cover but Reggae style with a “One Love” refrain which was inspired by Bob Marley but reminded me of U2)
Do You Really Want to Hurt Me (slowed down version of my fave Boy George song – he thought it was too personal for successful single)
Miss Me Blind
King of Everything
Bow Down Mister (the spiritual song)
Bang a Gong duet with Cyndi Lauper (probably my favorite of the night)
There was less than a half hour intermission, which included my favorite Wham song “Everything She Wants,” then Cyndi Lauper took the stage at 9:45 and played until 11pm. She is so cute and little and pink – well big pink hair anyway. Cyndi Lauper still has the pipes – that girl can sing! Cyndi has so much energy and is very funny with her stories – and her language. I admit I left at the end of “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” because I knew from reading set lists from previous shows only “True Colors” was left and I had an hour drive back home and didn’t want to get stuck in the terrible parking lot traffic. But luckily I read online and from my new friends account, the set ended with “Girls,” so I didn’t miss a thing. I think maybe Wolf Trap has a 11:00 curfew and with Cyndi’s six-minute story telling and ten-minute “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” maybe she ran out of time.
The set list for Cyndi Lauper at Wolf Trap in Virginia on June 1, 2016:
Funnel of Love (Wanda Jackson cover)
LONG 6 minute story telling
I Want to Be a Cowboy’s Sweetheart (Patsy Montana cover)
The End of the World (Skeeter Davis cover)
I Drove All Night
When You Were Mine (dedicated to Prince and she sang so passionately i thought she was crying)
Money Changes Everything
Misty Blue (Eddie Arnold cover)
Time After Time (everything I wanted it to be as my fave Cyndi Lauper song)
You’re the Reason Our Kids are Ugly duet with Boy George (so funny to hear Boy George sing country)
Girls Just Wanna Have Fun duet with Boy George (starting with his version of Boys Just Wanna Have Fun)
Luckily I had no trouble getting out of the parking lot and was home before midnight – getting to sleep was another story altogether. Wolf Trap is such a different concert experience with the audience mostly older, or maybe it’s the bands I choose to see. (keep forgetting it’s not the 1990s and i’m not in my 20s) The concerts at Wolf Trap are so relaxed, not the getting there and leaving there parts, but the actual shows are very relaxed and enjoyable. I would almost move to Vienna, Virginia just so I could enjoy the Wolf Trap Summer Concert Season.
To check out my photos from the night, please click here.