In 2010, Belinda Carlisle announced the Go-Go's were on their final tour, aptly titled "The Farewell Tour." However, the tour was cancelled after guitarist Jane Wiedlin injured her knee and instead, last year, they went on a "Ladies Gone Wild" tour commemorating 30 years since the release of the multi-platinum "Beauty and the Beat."
Whether or not tonight's sold-out show at the Potawatomi Bingo Casino's Northern Lights Theater was part of their last tour or not is uncertain, but regardless, the ladies put on one hell of a show. Short, at only an hour and 15 minutes, but extremely vivacious, peppy and exactly what one would have expected from the punk-pop power quartet three decades ago.
The original five Go-Go's were billed as being a part of tonight's show, but supposedly bassist Kathy Valentine had broken a bone and was not with the group. The other four original members – Wiedlin, Carlisle, Charlotte Caffey and Gina Schock – delivered a short-but-intense set.
Most of the material was drawn from 1981's "Beauty And The Beat." Although the concert opened with music from the song "Eye Of The Tiger," that never went anywhere further (thankfully), they busted out with a lesser-known cut from "Beauty" called "This Town."
The grrls then launched into the big hit from their second album and title track, "Vacation," followed by "Tonight," "How Much More," "Get Up And Go," "Mad About You" (a Carlisle solo-career song), "Lust To Love," "Stuck In My Car," a medley of "Automatic" and "Fading Fast," "Unforgiven" (co-written by Green Day's Billy Joe Armstrong), "Skid Marks On My Heart," "We Got The Beat" and "Our Lips Our Sealed."
They also performed a cover of "Cool Jerk" – which they recorded for their second album, "Vacation" – during which they invited members of the audience on stage. They encored with a cover of Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" followed by a spirited "Head Over Heels."
The Go-Go's formed in 1978 in Los Angeles and became a part of the late '70s punk movement. They shared rehearsal space with the band X and played at the hottest local punk venues of the time, including Whisky A Go Go and The Masque.
The band transitioned from punk to pop, released "Beauty," pissed off some hardcore punk fans but settled, momentarily, into MTV-inspired success. However, creative conflict and drug problems split up the band in May 1985, after they released two more less commercially successful albums.
The Go-Go's spent more than a decade at odds, but they eventually settled differences and reunited for the 2001 album, "God Bless The Go-Gos." A trace of the person-to-person disconnect might have been detected tonight between Carlisle and Schock, but it was subtle. Schock was quirky, and she might even have annoyed Carlisle, when she introduced the band with a cowboy hand puppet. Other band members joked she was drunk.
Wiedlin, as always, was the darling of the show. As a native of Oconomowoc and former resident of West Allis, she expressed her Wisconsin love, and ended the show with, "Go, Pack!" She also made humorous commentary like when she noted that the Northern Lights Theater, because of the seating up against the stage's edge, makes it feel more like a "gentleman's club" than a concert venue.
"And my cousin is here, which makes it really kinda creepy," she said.
All in all, it was a total feel-good concert, especially for those of us who came of age during the Go-Go's first time around, and they proved that age has nothing to do with rousing the audience. Despite Milwaukeean's reputation of always staying seated during shows, about half the crowd stood and danced during "We Got The Beat" and "Our Lips Our Sealed."
The band's choice to cover Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" was perhaps the most telling of their forever young-ness. Lyrics like "Hey, I just met you and this is crazy, but here's my number, call me, maybe" suggest that these women are not really 50-something, rather, like many of us, forever 18 or 19 or 25 at heart.
Carlisle looked particularly youthful, but made jokes revealing her age like, "Anyone remember the '80s? Good, because I don't."
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Molly Snyder
Published May 24, 2015
Many Milwaukee women are major contributors to local business, and here are 11 who are providing life-enhancing outlets for Brew City shoppers and, in many cases, building community at the same time.
Published May 23, 2015
Nick Ramsey is the poet laureate of Racine. Yes, Racine has a poet laureate, and Ramsey was nominated and later appointed to the two-year position in October 2013. Ramsey will read from his new chapbook, "Rhymes & Rambles," on Saturday, May 30 at Wilson's Coffee & Tea in, aptly, Racine.
Published May 21, 2015
Anyone who's traveled from General Mitchell International Airport in the past few years has most likely noticed the "Recombobulation Area" signs that hang just beyond the security checkpoints. Is "recombobulation" even a word?
Published May 20, 2015
This year, PrideFest, which takes place June 5-7, will feature three bathrooms labeled "gender-neutral" to ensure comfort and inclusiveness.
Published May 18, 2015
Fixture Pizza Pub is opening soon in Walker's Point at 625 S. 2nd St. in the former Boom / The Room space.
Published May 16, 2015
The Memorial Weekend Classic returns to Great Lakes Dragaway in Union Grove next weekend. The event will include the standard races as well as a free kids' carnival called "Leroy Butler Day at the Races" on Sunday. The carnival takes place from 1 to 5 p.m. and Butler will be there promoting his anti-bullying campaign.
Published May 15, 2015
Milwaukee is - and has always been - a town with many olfactory offerings. Here are six strong ones.
Published May 13, 2015
Cafe at the Plaza, 1007 N. Cass St., reopened today after being closed for renovations since March 30.
Published May 13, 2015
Kelsey Miller has exactly one month of bartending under her proverbial belt, but she already digs it. And she can mix a mean Old Fashioned.
Published May 10, 2015
The first-ever Brewtown Rumble, a free motorocycle and music festival, takes place Sunday, May 17 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Best Place, 901 W. Juneau Ave., and the surrounding streets. Everyone is welcome.