Back in my callow youth – or at least some years back – I would make fun of the dinosaur acts that fill the bills on summer shack tours. The JourneySupertrampKansas or REOSpeedwagonLoverboyNightRanger, or even CheapTrickBlueOysterCultTubes.
Then I noticed that some of my favorite New Wave groups were banding together on tour. Maybe these nostalgia trips weren’t such a laughable thing. This trend isn’t a new one but I did starting thinking about it again after noticing a couple of really good New Wave bills coming to Los Angeles in the next couple of months.
First up this year is Squeeze and the B-52’s concert at the Greek on June 30. I happened to have seen bands recently. The always-fun B-52’s stole the retro ‘80s night last year at the Hollywood Bowl from headliners the Human League. Squeeze’s set a few years back at the Gibson Amphitheatre lived up to the title of their Spot The Difference album since their marvelous renditions were so close to the performances of their younger selves. Squeeze is doing a cool thing at this show. They will be recording it and selling a CD and USB/Zip drive after the show. They also have a Live at the Fillmore disc available too.On Sept. 12, the Greek welcomes two other pioneers from that era – Devo and Blondie. While neither band is as envelope pushing as they once were, both still have a wealth of catchy tunes as well as an adventurous musical sense. This tour is called “Whip It To Shreds,” which cleverly combines hit song titles from each band – “Whip It” and “Rip Her To Shreds” (oh, the songs are playing in my mind now).
The last of the threesome is this year’s Hollywood Bowl Totally ‘80s concert on Sept. 29. Babysitters will be in demand that night as the Go-Go’s headline the show, which also includes the Psychedelic Furs, The Motels and Bow Wow Wow. Sure it won’t be a remake of Urgh A Music War because papa doesn’t pogo like he used to, but it should be a fun night of New Wave nostalgia (it is the only one of these shows that I actually got tickets for); however, the bill made me long for an L.A. Battle of the Girl (now Woman) Bands with the Go-Go’s and the Motels also taking on the Bangles and Concrete Blonde. Oh, an ‘80s boy can dream…(“dreamin’ is free” – oh, wait, that’s Blondie).