What an incredible start to fall it’s been for live music in Ottawa. Last week the TD Place Time Machine took us back to the 90s with an incredible dance party and a wicked Canadian rock reunion show with Our Lady Peace and I Mother Earth. Tuesday night it was a trip all the way back to the early 80s with Platinum Blonde and Culture Club.
It’s been 15 years and a few months since I saw Platinum Blonde perform live. It was in 2001 at Mattawa Voyageur Days in Mattawa, Ontario (one of my personal favourite festivals in Ontario but that’s another story). Platinum Blonde was part of an all-star lineup that year which also featured Staggered Crossing, Arcand Band, Hennessey, Sab, Prairie Oyster, Harlequin, and Prism.
Growing up Platinum Blonde was one of those bands that all the girls in high school had posters of in their lockers and had mad crushes on the trio. I was 11 when Alien Shores was released, I’m pretty sure I still have that album in my cassette collection somewhere. The album featured three huge songs for Platinum Blonde, “Situation Critical”, “Crying Over You” and “Somebody Somewhere” and I remember each and every one of them like they were released yesterday. I’m pretty sure that’s one of the first albums I waited in line for the record store (it was a store that sold music because back then we didn’t have the internet lol) on the hopes that they would have the album on it’s release day (I grew up in Northern Ontario and the small record store in our town didn’t always bring in the new releases unless it was from a big name Top 40 act).
Fast forward 31 years, I’m now 42. When TD Place announced that Platinum Blonde would be coming to Ottawa I got really excited. My musical preferences have gone through a lot of changes over the past 30 some odd years but I’ll never forget listening to Alien Shores and then discovering Standing in the Dark which was released a few years before Alien Shores but I was still to young to appreciate it. I loved Platinum Blonde when I saw them 15 years ago and boy let me tell you I’m jealous of these 80s and 90s bands…how is it that they don’t ever seem to age? Mark, Sergio and Daniel looked and sounded just like they did on their album 31 years ago and just like they did in Mattawa 15 years ago. It was the perfect trip down memory lane and the perfect way to kick off an incredible night of music to come.
Although I had never seen the evening’s headliner, Culture Club, live in the past I have always been a fan. There was always something fun about Boy George and Culture Club’s music that would make you want to get up and move.
From the minute Boy George and Culture Club took to the stage the secret to their success became crystal clear, charm. Boy George was incredibly charming, funny and had the most relaxed stage presence I’ve ever seen from an artist.
From the opening notes of “Church of the Poison Mind” all the way through “Karma Chameleon” almost 90 minutes later, Boy George kept the crowd on their feet and spirits high. He was full of memorable and thought provoking quotes as well like “we only make sense on stage, off stage we are a soap opera.” and “Songs are like tattoos. Some songs are like ink, they get into your skin and become a part of you!”. My favorite of the night was “Dance like no one’s watching, Love like no one ever broke your heart and dress like everyday is Halloween!”
One of the highlights for me was Boy George’s incredibly powerful tribute to Prince. I’ve always been a big fan of Prince and Boy George’s cover of “Purple Rain” was darn near the closest I’ve ever gotten to hearing Prince himself perform the song.
— Sound Check Ent. (@SoundCheckBlg) November 2, 2016
To Platinum Blonde and Culture Club thank you for an incredible night of music, you brought me back to a time when I was just discovering my own musical tastes. Thank you for being part of the musical journey that has brought me to this point in my life / career where I get to give back by promoting the artists that have been part of my life for so many years.
To Ottawa music & entertainment fans, the party at TD Place is far from over. Still to come this month, Dane Cook (November 6), Roger Hodgson (of Supertramp November 8), Randy Bachman (FREE show November 11), Marianas Trench (November 18) and All Time Low with Simple Plan (November 19). For tickets and information to any of these shows be sure to visit www.tdplace.ca