We took several trips down memory lane this past month, some we thought we'd never have the chance to. So grateful so many of these great artists from my youth are still kicking it legitimately & some better than ever.
Salt-N-Pepa - October 4th - Lava Cantina - The Colony, TX
Now we'd seen Salt-N-Pepa before & hell their DJ Spinderella lives here in town & both times before as happy as I was to see them, their current stage show definitely translates better to a smaller, ever club like atmosphere.
Last time we saw these ladies was a few years ago on the super fun I Love the 90's Tour that they headlined but that show was a bit flat & ill-paced. This one was one loose & perfect & had the right vibe & the perfect crowd. Perfect example of this club owner's penchant for booking simply the stuff he loves from his childhood as it seems almost weekly now that this venue is booking once arena headlining superstars & this smaller setting that's great for him & for people like him. As a great surprise, at one point they brought fellow ladies from that same era SWV for a medley of their hits that was the perfect touch for a mostly female audience with mothers there with their grown daughters for a special evening.
Do You Want Me
Shake Your Thang
I'll Take Your Man
My Mic Sounds Nice
Let's Talk About Sex
Spinderella's Not A Fella
Whatta Man (with SWV)
None of Your Business
Ladies of the '80s w/ Debbie Gibson, Lisa Lisa & Tiffany - October 18th - Allen Event Center - Allen, TX
Let me be clear: This was hand's down the most fun I've had all year & maybe this decade. Impossible to overstate how perfect, candid & just perfect this show was. Now I know the chance you take when you go back this far as these ladies original hey day was over 30 years ago & sometimes when your watching people you loved that far back perform it can sometimes make you wish you hadn't & even participating as a fan makes you (at least me) super self-aware. None of that was gong on here, just pure fun. Let's get to it:
Now it definitely reeked of a few things that could have led to the above fears (not that it stopped me obviously) as the show was in an off-market outside Dallas. Secondly, there wasn't any merch, like there was one small merch table that had a few Debbie Gibson shirts (super cheap $10) that I bought.
However, this kinda crowd with the people in this city with all their expendable income, they would have sold around 4,000 Ladies of the 80's shirts had they been printed up, so if they missed out on that, was else was amiss with this show I started to suspect.
Next, their was literally zero production for this show, Tiffany & Lisa Lisa shared the same band etc - But instead of this being a hindrance, it was actually was caused it to be so intimate & fun.
Now I've actually seen Tiffany before AND at a Mall, but to illustrate what a geek I am, it wasn't in 1987, it was in 2013 haha, we ever sat next to her & her husband in the food court after. Here she freaking KILLED, still takes herself a bit too seriously but soared & looked and sounded better than I've ever seen her. She purposely dropped a F Bomb later in her set just to prove she's grown up & it was so funny the reaction it got as everyone had reverted to their 12 year old selves & couldn't believe Tiffany was cursing haha
I Saw Him Standing There (The Beatles cover)
Johnny's Got the Inside Moves
All This Time
Think We're Alone Now (Tommy James & the Shondells cover)
Next up was Lisa Lisa - no Cult Jam this time but her band was very ample. Once again this wasn't my first time seeing Lisa either as she headlined a Freestyle festival the same year I saw Tiffany that turned out to be the most fun I had all year was at THAT show, so Lisa's a bit of good luck charm.
Now, she's put on a considerable amount of weight & beginning to look more like an abuelita but still sounded fantastic.
In fact, with her super tight band, and KILLER dance troupe and her still swinging swagger, her presence was so undeniable
You forget she had over a half dozen #1 hits and the momentum she carried from Tiffany's portion of the program had this very vocal and rabid crowd on it's feet and dancing the whole time. I couldn't get enough of this audience and just how so into it they were.
Can You Feel the Beat
Head to Toe
Lost in Emotion
Little Jackie Wants to Be a Star
All Cried Out
Just Get It Together
Let the Beat Hit 'Em
I Wonder If I Take You Home
Now the time had arrived, I was seeing Debbie Gibson in concert, it was really happening. Here is what your immediate takeaway should be:
First - Debbie is not only still gorgeous but actually somehow waaaay hotter at 48 than she was at 18.
And in the coolest most natural way - It's like she went "Hey, I wasn't really allowed to show off my body then, so I'm gonna do it now" but instead of having to go full on Miley about it, or "Would someone tell this old lady to put some clothes on?" or even "She looks good for her age" It's a genuine HOW IS DEBBIE THIS HOT & LOOKS SO GOOD!.
Second, she has the BEST personality & is an unflappable pro that all led to why this show was enjoyable. She starts the show in this knockout sequin dress only for the mic to not work nor did several replacement mics. Her reaction: Total self-deprication and made it into a bit on the spot that only added to the show. She praised the openers & wanted to make it clear how much better singers they are.
She had several (& welcome) wardrobe changes but was never a diva about it, she eventually took off her heels & was wearing a wifebeater & jorts, she even brought out her mom. She looked incredible, sounded terrific & was just the consummate performer.
That's why she still has such a strong connection to her audience as she brought out some super fans, some whom had come all the way from the UK, called them by name & had them join her at the piano to do live requests. Ladies & Gentlemen, THAT is what you call a badass.
She also did the super fun medley bit of other hits from that same era, paying homage to Michael Jackson, New Kids on the Block & several others.
An example of her professionalism & ability to laugh at herself so charmingly, when they started Billie Jean, her dancers, these lovable and stereotypically gay older men on purpose called the Bald Bookends, were on point but she was outta step & instead of panicking & pulling an Ashley Simpson, she just goes, "Whoa wait, what's happening?" laughed and picked it back up on their cue. Let me say it again: Ladies & Gentlemen, THAT is what you call a badass.
Anything Is Possible
Another Brick Falls
Shake Your Love
(With Debbie’s original bassist, Kirk Powers)
Out of the Blue
(Debbie solo on piano)
No More Rhyme
Paparazzi (Lady Gaga cover)
Two Young Kids
Lost In Your Eyes
Billie Jean / Like a Virgin / Conga / Rhythm Nation / You Got It (The Right Stuff) / Time of My Life / Simply the Best /
We Could Be Together
Only in My Dreams
Don't Stop Believin' (Journey cover) (with Lisa Lisa & her band)
...and speaking of the New Kids - They have this CRAZY tour coming up next year that not only includes both Tiffany & Debbie but also the above mentioned Salt-N-Pepa, Naughy by Nature & more. We will be there, We love you Debbie!
MC Hammer - November 2nd - Lava Cantina - The Colony, TX
Let me say this: Just the rarity of this show made it enjoyable for starters. Secondly to see one of the biggest commercial acts of the past 30 years in such an intimate venue (without it being sad or depressing) was an equal +.
But the real positive was that simply the performance was DOPE - Hammer & his troupe came out swinging for the fences & never let up for a solid hour.
Despite my research I can't find anything that would suggest that this isn't his first performance of any kind in these parts in over a quarter-century.
That's gotta be wrong right? If you can prove otherwise, drop us a line. Here's the thing with Hammer (for me) - As a student of Hip-Hop his brand to me might as well be Coca-Cola right? But his success came into my life at a time (middle school) when as an adult you become nostalgic for everything that came out during that time, even if you weren't really into that shit at the time haha.
Now I can't say I wasn't totally into it, cause I was a little, I loved his Rick James remix hit, I watched the (much maligned) Saturday Morning Cartoon Hammerman & watched Arsenio Hall's (original) late night show religiously. With Hammer though, his peers are more like Vanilla Ice, not just because of the commercial aspect but there is some serious legitimacy issues (pun intended) with this guy. As talented as he was (& clearly still is) he's the perfect example of someone with zero self-awareness that causes some career & personal decisions that he can never return from.
But hey, Prince loved him & enough to loan him a rare sample.
None of that matter on this night, this was just a fun show - So what that the owner of the club probably just loved MC Hammer & is on a quest to use his adult resources to relive his childhood and just flew this dude in for this & all this was is a live paycheck - who cares? It was fun & I'd probably go again.
Let's Get It Started
Pumps and a Bump
Have You Seen Her
It's All Good
I'm MC Hammer
Too Legit To Quit
U Can't Touch This