Vibrant Show Carries Strong Message for LGBT Community

Photo: SHE'S SO UNUSUAL. Cyndi Lauper's True Colors tour made its Berkeley stop Sunday, with the singer headlining and promoting her political agenda.
Aditya Rohilla/Photo
SHE'S SO UNUSUAL. Cyndi Lauper's True Colors tour made its Berkeley stop Sunday, with the singer headlining and promoting her political agenda.


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To say that the True Colors Tour 2008 was high-energy would be a terrific understatement. The performance at the Greek Theatre on Sunday was, in fact, relentless-over four hours of music and comedy that miraculously kept the audience on their feet, all while delivering an essential message.

Last year, Cyndi Lauper created the True Colors event as a way to raise awareness for LGBT issues, aligning with the Human Rights Campaigning and some of the queerest (and queer friendliest) acts around. This year brought a new line-up, new tour stops and new issues, namely stopping California from passing an amendment banning same sex marriages.

Opening act the Puppini Sisters set the stage for the show with their unique brand of updated 1940s close harmony. Though not quite as up-tempo as the subsequent performers, the trio managed to keep the still-trickling-in audience on their feet with innovative covers of "Crazy in Love" and "Walk Like an Egyptian."

The Puppini Sisters were followed by Andy Bell, making his return to True Colors sans Erasure. Again, it was all about keeping the audience moving, but Bell's performance came off a bit awkward. Wearing a track jacket and tennis shoes, his fancy footwork looked more like someone's private aerobics workout than dancing. At the same time, he was able to get a reaction with hits "A Little Respect" and "Oh L'amour."

With the sun still beating down, the audience was surely in need of a break. That came in the form of comedienne Wanda Sykes, doing her best to find the humor in current queer issues. Her political commentary wasn't terribly original-"If you don't believe in same sex marriages, then don't marry someone of the same sex and shut the fuck up" is close to the name of a Facebook group-but she was a welcome addition to the evening.

Perhaps the best addition of all, though, was the intermission, conspicuously missing from last year's proceedings. The audience surely used the break to their advantage, as they returned with renewed gusto for the next acts: the B-52s and Cyndi Lauper.

In terms of sound, not much has changed for the band since the '80s: Cindy Wilson and Kate Pierson sing while Fred Schneider speaks to create upbeat, off-kilter dance music. "Great to be here at the Greek Theatre," Schneider declared. "But we're going to make it the Freak Theatre." With new songs "Pump" and "Juliet of the Spirits" alongside classics "Love Shack" and "Rock Lobster," that unabashed weirdness was on full display.

By the time Lauper arrived, the crowd was somehow still ready to rock. As she ascended a Statue of Liberty torch, belting "Change of Heart," the audience leapt to their feet. More than any other performer-except maybe Carson Kressley, who invited some hunky patrons backstage-Lauper was engaged with her fans. She walked into the crowd repeatedly, dancing with audience members in the aisles.

Between songs, she seemed somewhat worn out; chances are, the crowd felt much the same way. But when she sang hits like "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" and "Money Changes Everything," Lauper proved her voice has lost none of its power or charm.

As was the case last year, the whole ensemble gathered together for a final encore, complete with rainbow-colored balloons and a stirring rendition of "True Colors." In fact, the show as a whole felt largely the same. But in an election year, Lauper's vision of a "tour with voting information" and her message of "power to the people" could not be more relevant.


Rock like a lobster with Louis at [email protected]



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