The most successful all-female rock band of all time, The Go-Go’s, finally enjoyed a well-deserved victory lap celebrating last October’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Their six-city tour included San Francisco, Reno, Temecula, Anaheim, Los Angeles, and finally San Diego. I was fortunate to catch the fierce five pop rockers on their last stop at Humphreys Concerts by the Bay. Offering scenic views of Half Moon Marina, Humphreys was the perfect outdoor location to enjoy the sold-out show. The crowd of mostly 50-somethings was eager to celebrate and take a nostalgic trip back with The Go-Go’s to the glory days of the ‘80s.
The entire crowd rose to their feet as the band took the stage and blasted off with the retro surf number “Beatnik Beach.” Belinda Carlisle was in fine form; her voice sounded great and she danced as if it was 1982 not 2022. Bassist Kathy Valentine was laughing and jamming; guitarist Jane Wiedlin sported a dashingly-vibrant light blue suit and red tie, and was as sassy on stage as ever; and guitarist/keyboardist Charlotte Caffey dutifully rocked the lead guitar.
One obvious missing element was original drummer Gina Schock, who was recovering from recent hand surgery. However, Clem Burke (Blondie) did an outstanding job being a showman and generating the percussive punch required for the Go-Go’s sound. Valentine addressed the “coed” nature of the band, joking that Clem was just adding some “masculinity” to the band.
My favorite stretch of tunes were songs two through seven: “This Town,” “Vacation,” “How Much More,” “Tonite,” “Lust for Love,” and “Turn to You.” Pure fire! The pioneering women have such a deep catalog of addictive songs, brilliantly merging new wave, surf, punk, and ‘60s retro into pop magic! The surf punk guitar tones, upbeat dance rhythms, polished backing vocal harmonies, and catchy sing-along choruses all work so well together.
It was also a treat to hear the band’s first new song in 19 years, “Club Zero,” performed live (for maybe the eighth time ever). The track coincided with the 2020 release of “The Go-Go’s” documentary, a film chronicling the group’s trailblazing rise to success that helped pave the way for women in the music industry. To no surprise, the show peaked with the one-two punch of mega-hits “Our Lips Are Sealed” and “We Got the Beat” With the band cranking the hits and people drinking, dancing and laughing, it felt like a backyard party with friends.
In June, The Go-Go’s cross the pond for an exciting UK tour with Billy Idol; their first shows in the UK since 1995. Wow! Let’s all hope the band continues to ride the momentum of their Hall of Fame induction and schedule some more shows soon!