Last night I got to tick another iconic diva off my "must see" list. I caught Cyndi Lauper at Mardi Gras a couple of years ago but two songs after twelve pills doesn't really count. And to be honest, I almost missed this show too. The idea of sitting through a blues set didn't fill me with excitement. There are two distinct phases of Cyndi's career that I connect with - "Bring Ya To The Brink" (my favourite album of 2008) and just about everything pre-1990. My mum was obsessed with her in the 80s and I grew up with "She's So Unusual" and "True Colors". I also vividly remember mum taking me to see Vibes in the city. Who else remembers that masterpiece? Ms Lauper played a psychic and I think it had a completely believable plot about an Incan tribe in Ecuador with supernatural powers. Please tell me it's on DVD! But back to the concert. It was a revelation. I expected the songs it to be a fairly sedate affair but from the moment Cyndi took the stage and started bouncing around like a teenager I knew I was very wrong.
The first thing that strikes you about the seemingly ageless 57-year-old (seriously, what's her secret?) is her adorable accent. The next thing is her voice, which has only become stronger with time. It is one of the most unique instruments in popular music and she put it to good use on "Just Your Fool" and "Shattered Dreams" - two of the highlights from "Memphis Blues". From then on it was a fairly even mix of old songs and blues covers. I don't know enough about the latter genre to pass judgement on their authenticity but they sounded pretty good to my uneducated ears. Particularly the uplifting "Down Don't Bother Me". More surprising was how effortlessly classics like "She Bop" and "Change Of Heart" fit into the set. The extended encore, which almost ended in drama when one of Cyndi's crazy fans started harassing the diva for asking people to sit down, included "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun", "True Colours" and the gorgeous "Rain On Me". I'd still love to catch her in pop mode one day but this was a great introduction to one of music's last originals.
All this talk about Vibes has put me in the mood for "Hole In My Heart" (below), a top 10 Australian hit for Cyndi in 1988. I need to see this movie again!