Boy George and Culture Club I’d been planning on having a quiet night in, to be honest. It’s been a busy couple of weeks and a relaxed Friday of Netflix and wine would’ve been a nice detox. Obviously, though, how could I pass up the chance to see Culture Club? I don’t think I’d be able to resist the opportunity of seeing someone even half as iconic as Boy George on stage. A couple of times earlier in the day I mentioned that I’m going to see Culture Club – cue the widening of eyes and sharp intake of breath. Even my taxi driver was impressed.


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Culture Club Culture Club took to the stage of legendary Eventim Apollo (AKA Hammersmith Apollo, AKA Hammersmith Odeon – (however you remember it, your memories will be fond!). They played a ‘not so secret’ sold out one-off show, to end their run of dates across North America and to make up for their cancelled 2014 UK tour. With a jam-packed bag of hits on the set-list the band covered old favourites and of course some new material too, and they brought the house down!


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Boy George People will know Boy George for many different guises and vices. Long haired make up wearing 80’s pop icon, DJ, junkie and even felon. All add to the colourful persona that is George Alan O’Dowd and contributed to the fact that I was uber-excited about the gig at Brum's premier venue, The Institute.


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Boy George Boy George’s recent transformation from...let’s face it...chunky bloke with a police record, drug addiction and penchant for doing stuff that we don’t need to rake over anymore...is nothing short of incredible. If that opening description sounds a little harsh it’s meant to be. George is surely one of the best pop stars we’ve ever had. He coloured my adolescence and was a vital part of that magical soundtrack of the early 80s. To see him fall to pieces, occasionally edging dangerously close to Mr G. Reaper, was pretty sad for all concerned, not least George himself no doubt. He’s been pretty upfront and honest about his various ups and downs but now he’s back, back, BACK (as they used to say in Smash Hits) with his first new album and tour in three years (in recent promotional activities people seem to have forgotten about 2010’s Ordinary Alien for some reason...very odd). Thirty years on from Culture Club’s heyday would we still be mad about the Boy?


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Boy George It’s hard to appreciate just what a big deal Boy George was back in the early 80’s. First of all the ‘is he a she debate?’ was, I recall, something of a national obsession, helping to catapult Culture Club into the big time all over the world. Then the drugs took hold and George was all over the papers again, this time literally fighting for life (at one point he was even outed by his own brother who claimed George had just days to live...looking at footage of the time he had a point). In recent years it’s been all about his battles with the law, culminating with what he tonight called his ‘holiday’ at her majesty’s pleasure last year. The fact that he’s arguably better known for all this other stuff right now than he is for his music is a real shame. Strip away the fuck ups (and boy, George has made his fair share) and there’s a lusciously rich vein of classic pop and dance anthems to get stuck into. Tonight, happily, George decided to do just that, covering all bases from early Culture Club through to his early solo stuff on to Jesus Loves You and right up to date with current single ‘Amazing Grace’.


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