Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Bangles: September 26, 2000

When the Bangles first crawled up the charts in 1984 with "Hero Takes a Fall," their lovely all-female harmonies seemed steeped in nostalgia for the 1960s. When the group reunited a decade after their breakup, however, it was 1980s nostalgia that was in full force. 

The foursome commenced their set with a hard-rocking rendition of Simon and Garfunkel's "Hazy Shade of Winter," a big hit for the Bangles in 1987. The Bangles made a career of combining well-chosen covers with original songs, a pattern that was naturally reflected in their live set. In addition to covers they recorded in the '80s, such as "Live," "Going Down to Liverpool," and "September Gurls," the group turned out a fabulous acoustic version of "You Were on My Mind" and a surprisingly ass-kicking "Pushin' Too Hard," one of few reminders that, before they were cute hit-makers, the Bangles were a rock band well-versed in their Nuggets.

Of course, they also performed their crowd-pleasing originals, including "Hero Takes a Fall," "Manic Monday," "Walk Like an Egyptian," "In Your Room," and the sappy classic "Eternal Flame." They also played several tracks from the reunion album that was in the works at the time (Doll Revolution was released in 2003), usually prefaced with an apology to the audience. The crowd's reaction to the new material was generally positive though, even if the cheers became less enthusiastic as the night progressed.

Looking not much older than they did in their heyday, Vicki Peterson, Susanna Hoffs, Michael Steele, and Debbi Peterson seemed to be having a great time and, unlike so many other reunited groups, genuinely enjoying each other's company. There were lots of casual moments, such as when Steele joked that the light crew took a long time to spotlight her because they had no idea which one she was, or when Vicki Peterson announced that the band were about to play a Ricky Martin song as the synthesized backing track for "Going Down to Liverpool" began. A good time seemed to be had by all, including those on-stage. 

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