Vacation

Live Shot: Go-Go's tour finale at the Paramount.

Mother's Little Helpers: (l-r) Belinda Carlisle, Kathy Valentine, Jane Wiedlin
Mother's Little Helpers: (l-r) Belinda Carlisle, Kathy Valentine, Jane Wiedlin (by Gary Miller)

A well-documented timelessness laminates the Go-Go’s 1981 debut Beauty and the Beat. The onetime Hollywood quintet’s bare bones stage set at the Paramount Theatre last night, four mic stands lined up out front of the drum riser, matched that anytime appeal with a girl's group at the Apollo feel. Ninety minutes of nothing but the hits m’am.

Native daughter Kathy Valentine, who brought out her own 8-year-old to shake a tail feather during the second and final encore, “Head Over Heals,” announced early on that she had assured her bandmates the stately hall wouldn’t turn their audience into statues. Except for the atomic clock of “Automatic,” one of nine cuts romped through from Beauty and the Beat, the downstairs was on its feet for the entire performance. Everyone got the beat.

Foreigner’s “Hot Blooded,” which preceded Beauty and the Beat by only three years but a decade divide, provided the entrance cue for the final stop of the Ladies Gone Wild tour, which halted last year’s farewell trek when guitarist Jane Wiedlin required knee surgery. “We had plans to pass the torch onto [openers Girl in a Coma], but we decided to keep it,” she acknowledged. Short hair bleached to compliment her all-white attire, Wiedlin proved a counterpoint not only to the group’s otherwise dark attire, but also to go-go girl presence of the quintet’s lithe frontwoman, Belinda Carlisle.

To a set list culled tightly around the Go-Go’s No. 1 calling card, Carlisle and Wieldlin both supplied solo chartings : “Mad About You” from the former, and Sparks’ hit “Cool Places,” which originally guested the latter. Valentine claimed they had “Go-Go-ized” the singer’s solo MTV moment, Carlisle in Holly Golightly mode here, but the melody never quite translated into the Go-Go’s uptick. Wieldlin’s spotlight moment came somewhat buried between second LP cover and early band set staple “Cool Jerk” and the street fighting intro to “This Town.” Wieldlin co-wrote a majority of Go-Go’s staples with stage left six-stringer Charlotte Caffey, so when the two traded riffs into “We Got the Beat,” face to face, lick to lick, it reminded me how seldom two-guitar bands interact their axe slingers.

Quenching opener “Vacation”; “Tonite,” with Caffey, Carlisle, Valentine, and Wiedlin all singing in perfect harmony; a spot-on tantalizing “Lust to Love”; the husky “Our Lips Are Sealed”; Caffey switching to keyboards for a stilling intro from Carlisle on “Fading Fast”; all-time classic lyric “Skidmarks on My Heart” – the Ladies delivered.

And for days when it’s a drag getting old, there was a skinny pants 1960s cover of the Rolling Stone’s “Mother's Little Helper.”

Timeless.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

Go-Go's Live Shot, Kathy Valentine, Jane Wiedlin, Belinda Carlisle, Rolling Stones, Girl in a Coma

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