On Sunday August 20, 2023, the 1980’s came to the newly renamed Toyota Pavilion at Concord (Formerly the Concord Pavilion) in Concord, California and so did I. It was a warm humid night and that made for a large crowd and a pleasant evening as the sun set behind the hills. This throwback to the 80’s consisted of Berlin, Howard Jones and Boy George and Culture Club on the Letting it Go Show tour. This venue has been a staple of the Bay Area since 1975 and I think it would be safe to say that this isn’t the first time these bands have played here.
This was my third time seeing Berlin over the last year and a half and to be honest, they kill it every time. Opening with “Masquerade”, Berlin worked through their 1980’s hits with exuberance. There were only two deviations of their 80’s classics. The first one was a newer song called “Transcendence” that Terri wrote for her mom. The second was a cover of The Cult’s “She Sells Sanctuary”. Both were phenomenal. They finished up their set with “Sex (I’m a…)”. And just like that, their eight song set was up.
Berlin members are:
Terri Nunn – vocals
John Crawford – bass
David Diamond – guitar
Carlton Bost – guitar
Dave Shulz – keyboards
Ric “Rocc” Roccapriore – drums
2). No More Words
3). The Metro
6). Take My Breath Away
7). She Sells Sanctuary (The Cult cover)
8). Sex (I’m a…)
Howard Jones was up next. I was looking forward to seeing him from the moment it was announced. This was his last stop on this tour and we were all into it. Coming out to an upbeat version of “Pearl in the Shell”, Howard walked out on stage with just a keyboard to kick things off. 20 or 30 seconds later, the rest of the band joined him on stage to fill in the electronic sounds. From there he reminisced about playing the Pavilion in the 80’s and invited everyone to sing along for the set.
Next he broke into “Like to Get to Know You” and the crowd didn’t disappoint, singing along with the chorus. As the band worked through the next few songs, it was clear that we knew all the words. When he introduced the bass player, Nick Beggs, he said that he was with Kajagoogoo all those years ago and never got to play the States in the 80’s so the next song was for him and they played “Too Shy”. Speaking of Nick Beggs, Most of the night he played an incredible 8 string bass, mostly just on the neck. It was pretty awesome.
After that, the hits just kept coming. One of my favorites was “No One Is to Blame” and they nailed it. They finished up the set with the classics, “What is Love” and an amazing rendition of “Things Can Only Get Better”. After all these years, these songs still stand up to the test of time and Howard sounded fantastic as he belted them out.
Howard Jones band members are:
Howard Jones – keyboards/vocals
Nick Beggs – bass
Robin Boult -guitar
Robbie Bronniman – keyboards
Dan Burton -keyboards
1). Pearl in the Shell
2). Like to Get to Know You Well
3). Everlasting Love
4). New Song
5). Too Shy (Kajagoogoo cover)
6). No One Is to Blame
7). Celebrate It Together
8). What Is Love
9). Things Can Only Get Better
When Culture Club came out, most of the band was down on the stage while Boy George was at the top of a flight of stairs flanked by the drummer and percussionist on risers. Opening with the Rolling Stones “Sympathy for the Devil”, the band sounded great and Boy George was vocally on point. They really sounded good! The crowd also helped out with the Hoo Hoo’s in the song. From there, they hit, “It’s a Miracle” and “I’ll Tumble 4 Ya”
When they went into “Melodrama” things slowed things down a bit and really focused on the vocals with the back up singers working with Boy George, performed it as a duet making a really a beautiful version. They then changed gears and did a reggae version of Bread‘s “Everything I Own”. I didn’t see that one coming but, they did a great job and it had a real island feel. For “Let it Go”, they kept the mellow vibe going and you could feel that washing over the crowd. Next, they played a very relaxed version of “Do You Really Want To Hurt Me” and you could hear the crowd singing along which just added to the atmosphere of it.
“Eyeliner VooDoo” brought the reggae sound back and Boy George had everyone eating out of his hand at this point. By “Church of the Poisoned Mind”, the crowd back to rocking and the audience were dancing along. Finishing off the first part of the set was “Miss Me Blind” that included a killer saxophone solo as well as a guitar solo.
When they returned to the stage, they went into T. Rex‘s “Bang a Gong” and invited Terri Nunn back out who helped with the vocals. A minute or so later, Boy George invited Howard Jones back out and added his vocals in the mix. This was one of my favorite parts seeing them all on stage together. Finishing out the night was “Karma Chameleon” and both Terri and Howard stayed for the party. Really, it was a great finish to the night.
Boy George and Culture Club members are:
Boy George – vocals/tambourine
Mikey Craig – vocals/bass/keyboards
Roy Hay – guitar/vocals/keyboards
Darren Lewis – percussion/keyboards
Maryl-Anne Evanson – drums/percussion/vocals
1). Sympathy for the Devil (Rolling Stones cover)
2). It’s a Miracle
3). I’ll Tumble 4 Ya
5). Everything I Own (Bread cover)
6). Let It Go
7). Do You Really Want To Hurt Me
8). Eyeliner VooDoo (Boy George song)
9). Angel of Mercy
10). That’s The Way (I’m Only Trying To Help You)
11). Church of the Poisoned Mind/I’m Your Man
13). Miss You Blind
14). Bang a Gong (T. Rex cover)(with Terri Nunn and Howard Jones)
15). Karma Chameleon (with Terri Nunn and Howard Jones)
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Photographer of about 10 years, I have been shooting concerts for about 8 of those years. I started to get serious about concert photography about 6 or 7 years ago and now try to shoot as many as I can. I shoot mostly rock but, have done some country and big band stuff. I love music and since I am nowhere close to being a musician, this is a way I can be a small part of what, in the words of Henry Rollins, “gets me through the highs, the lows and everything in between”.