The back of London's hangar-like Wembley Arena isn't the best place to witness a band as colourful as Culture Club and I'm not sure how we ended up amongst a bunch of fogies who didn't rouse themselves from their seats until the 'Karma Chameleon' encore. That didn't stop us dancing ourselves, though, and Boy George had enough charisma to reach every seat in the house.
Then there was the music. Amongst the well-documented in-fighting between George, Roy Hay, Mikey Craig and Jon Moss, it's maybe easy to forget just how many great pop tunes they came up with in their 1980s heyday but launching with a stirring Church Of The Mind
and running through every hit from 'I'll Tumble 4 Ya' to 'Move Away' via 'Time (Clock Of The Heart)' and 'Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?' they reminded us of their very fine musical legacy.
And those weren't even the highlights! A toughened-up 'War Song' was the battle cry we all need right now, with lyrics that were judged simplistic back in 1984 but cut right to the heart of a war-torn world. The epic 'Victims' tore at the heartstrings, as did a rousing tribute to Prince with Purple Rain
Through it all, the Boy was in fine, soulful voice and if there's still any acrimony between his bandmates it sure didn't show on stage. Their return to London, expected in 2014, has been a long time coming thanks to illness and then bust-ups revealed in the From Karma To Calamity
documentary. But they've since got their act together and we're happy to say the show was a triumph.
Words: Simon Button
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