They say that timing is everything, and that certainly seemed to be the case for reunited iconic ’80s sensation Culture Club who returned to Wolf Trap last night to ecstatic embrace. The nearly sell-out crowd could not get enough of the band’s fierce career-spanning two-hour set that, though replete with many nostalgic gems, resonated remarkably well with the notably diverse, multi-generational audience.
Embarking on its first North American tour with all four of the original members in over 12 years — bassist Mikey Craig, guitarist/keyboardist Roy Hay, drummer Jon Moss and vocalist Boy George — the band dazzled the stage with palpable electricity, as it catapulted the wildly receptive crowd to its feet, from start to finish, opening with their 1983 top 10 soulful, Gospel-inspired hit “Church of the Poison Mind” to thunderous applause.
Led by flamboyant, fashion-forward front man Boy George (who kept the show interesting with his eye-catching hats and intermittent wardrobe refreshers) and supported by a talented team, which included a powerful three-piece horn section, two percussionists, a second guitarist and three soulful backup singers, the band boogied through both longtime fan favorites, such as the fun “I’ll Tumble 4 Ya” and “Miss Me Blind” and deeper cuts, like “Black Money” and “Time (Clock of the Heart).” The band’s world-music continued with a cool reggae version of the old Bread song “Everything I Own,” rendering an jubilant twist on the classic.
Culture Club also offered a tease sampling of its new songs, seemingly featured on their next album, Tribes, the band’s first new album in 16 years, which is finished but not due out until early next year. The most impressive of the lot was “More Than Silence,” which came at the introduction of the encore.
Yet, the twinkling pinnacle and long-awaited moment of the night finally arrived when the group launched into its biggest and best known U.S. hit, “Karma Charmeleon,” which started slowly and surely with George prompting the audience to sing a cappella and then escalating at full throttle as the band took the lead, capping a 20-song collection of their brightest and finest.
Culture Club played for one night only on Monday, August 10, 2015 at the Filene Center at Wolf Trap – 1551 Trap Road, in Vienna, VA. For future performances and information: call (877) 965-3872, or Wolf Trap’s calendar of events.