Go-Go’s Took Me to the ’80’s and Back
It was great seeing my old friends, the Go-Go’s perform last night after the Tampa Bay Rays victory. Reason I say “friends” is that this group was at the essence of my 1980’s. They were the group who’s song dominated my cassette players as I cruised down Clearwater Beach as a teen in my convertible 1969 Camaro with my hair swirling and Go-Go’s music dancing in my ears.
Tonight that same wave of emotions, hopes and remembrances danced along with the thousands upon the Trop AstroTurf. From the moment lead singer Belinda Carlise lead the group on stage, dancing, we knew it was going to be an 80’s party to remember…always.
Even with their lead-off song “Vacation”, the girls again took me back to a simpler time in my life as I swayed and grooved to song I knew by heart, and had a special niche in that same pumping vessel. These were the first female musicians to steal my heart. It wasn’t the En Vogue girls, Vixen or even the Supremes, it was this California band that spoke of life in the same parameter path of my own.
But make no mistake, even though Jane Wiedlin probably can’t bounce around like she did before her 2010 ACL accident, the vibe was still the same. It was a festival of fun, frolic and calculated mayhem. Jane still did her swirls, even sporting a silver and black half wig to show her child side is still alive and well.
Karen Valentine is still one of the best bass guitarists in the world and it was fitting the native of Austin, Texas was there to jam out on a day when Jeff Niemann, the Rays Tall Texan dominated. This is a band that has seen its own members go off and do solo and duo projects and still have enough love and admiration for their own collaborated tunes to reunite and again rock it out Cali style.
I was entranced from the first note to their last strum after their encore where Gina Schock, the one East Coast (Baltimore,Md) born Go-Go helped introduce the band while cooling down a bit before the encore. Gina is one of the best drummer you probably have never heard about, but she is the accentual heartbeat and energy stalwart of this band.
Charlotte Caffey is a songwriting muse. Her own life experiences, along with her band mates dominates the Go-Go’s tunes. Her keyboard artistry is above the board. She might not be the most vocal and outgoing of the Go-Go’s girls on stage, but she more than makes up for it in her songwriting and multiple musical talents.
That leaves us with the firecracker herself. Belinda Carlise who has always been the focal point, and have delivered time after time after time. From her dances moves on stage in the middle of songs, to her bellowing vocals and range, the girl has been the glowing icon of the Go-Go girl revolution for a long time. The Cali girl hair might be gone, but she still rocks the follicles as well as our heart strings.
I can seriously not see this band flowing and grooving like it does without this perfected orchestrated 5-some on stage. Pity this might be the last performance ever of the band in Florida, because the Tampa Bay crowd that missed it or left early missed a great example of the California influence and vibe that rock the 80’s from stem to stern.
I have a special place in my heart for the Go-Go’s. They helped me understand women through their songs. Made me joyful when I was in the dumps, and always had the beat to get me again doing “ my thing”. This band started their motion to fame at the same time I was getting out of High School. Their music influenced me, had me dancing in the streets, halls and sometimes the Mall.
If you needed one band to put on a platter to demonstrate the ’80’s, it was these ladies. The Go-Go’s might be 30 years older than the first time I saw them at Bayfront Center. They may even not sit out at the beaches behind the Don CeSar anymore, but they can still take me back, in a heartbeat to days I will never forget. If this is the last time I see these fabulous ladies I can truly hang my head high because they did their thing, they moved the crowd. For that I applaud my old friends, for they made me proud I lived in the era of the Go-Go’s.