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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014

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The Go-Go's, Wednesday night at Summerfest.
The Go-Go's, Wednesday night at Summerfest.

The Go-Go's still got the beat

Tip your cap to the Go-Go’s. They made some great New Wave music in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, and even though they planned a "farewell tour" in 2010, here they are three years later, still playing their greatest hits, although as drummer Gina Schock said, they didn't get a sound check. We could tell.

And, even without bassist Kathy Valentine, the Go-Go’s still were themselves Wednesday night at a chilly sparsely attended show at the BMO Harris Pavilion. All these years later, barefoot Belinda Carlisle (in black capri pants) sounded young and vibrant – although hard to hear at first – and you’ve gotta love Milwaukee’s own Jane Wiedlin (knee brace, Packers owner and all) – who I still fondly remember from "Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure."

Wiedlin gave it all, making fun of Coors Light, while Carlisle seemed to go through the motions, at least physically, onstage. Still, they sounded good once they got going.

In a lengthy firework-punctuated set, we didn’t hear many surprises, nor did we expect to. Hits like "Vacation," "Our Lips Are Sealed" and "Head Over Heels" still brought smiles. (Carlisle’s solo hit, "Mad About You" still annoyed the crap out of me). And it was interesting to hear the girl group cover the Rolling Stones’ "Paint It Black." Less interesting to hear KISS in the encore, however.

Interesting, too, was that this show began quite early at 8 p.m. with Streetlife as the opener who played for a whole hour. The ladies didn't take the stage until much later. Personally, I would’ve loved to see The B-52’s, as they’ve joined the Go-Go’s on several dates during this tour.

But I love ‘80s music, so I’m not complaining at all. I loved it then, and I love it now. Seeing the Go-Go’s isn’t such a rare opportunity, but it was still the first time for me. Personality conflicts, breakups and reunions aside, this was a fun, festive show. My mind already on the holiday weekend, "Vacation" seemed totally apropos for my fifth and final visit to Summerfest this year. Jump back.

Set list:

Get Up and Go
Vacation
Tonite
This Town
How Much More
Mad About You
Automatic
Paint It Black
Cool Places
Cool Jerk
Unforgiven
Skidmarks on my Heart
Our Lips Are Sealed

Encore:

I Want To Be Sedated
We Got the Beat
Rock N Roll All Nite

Second encore:

Fun With Ropes
Head Over Heels

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