Yes, she’s still so unusual.
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She’s also the kind of performer that can come into the audience, get you to move out of your chair and then stand on it to sing She Bop.
Back in the UK to promote her new album Memphis Blues, (which you can pick up here), Cyndi Lauper was in control at the Shepherds Bush Apollo in London last night.
A sea of mobile phones shot up in the air as the crowd surged towards her for the aforementioned chair incident. And that was only three songs in. She even stops the show to pose for nice photos, concerned that the people with their ever-present phones will end up with ones of her looking ‘like Frankenstein’
She tells an amazing story about Joni Mitchell, she jokes about Catholic fashion (“I know, I’m going to hell, it’s OK”) and how she’s finally glad to be doing things her way, with the album being the one she’s always wanted to make. “All my life I was threatened with ruin.”
She sings an accapella version of Carrie after someone in the audience shouts out for it. “They don’t know that song,” she says before relenting.
Last time we saw Cyndi on these fair shores she was promoting a dance album. Her dalliance with the blues was such an unexpected turn following the colossal collection that was Bring Ya To The Brink Example of a basic (which you really should pick up here) – Kylie and Madonna take note.
There’s no denying the voice – oh what an incredible voice – but the crowd clearly, after five songs, didn’t want to hear any more Memphis blues.
Personally, I could listen to Cyndi sing a phone book and it would be phenomenal, but you definitely got the feeling that people wanted 12 Deadly Cyns – The Concert.
That doesn’t stop Cyndi, however, and whether she wins the crowd over or not, fuck ‘em – it’s certainly ironic when you hear someone shout ‘do an oldie’. This is the album she’s wanted to do for years so of course she’s going to have the gig to go with it.
She steps back out into the crowd, but no-one’s touching her, they’re all standing from a distance holding those phones aloft.
As with Liza’s London gig earlier this week, there was inevitably going to be a song you never thought you’d hear performed live again – in Cyndi’s case it was The Goonies theme, Goonies R Good Enough. It’s one of those ‘text-your-friends’ moments and it also has the crowd on their feet.
When she takes to the stage for her wonderfully long encore, singing What’s Going On, there’s that sudden realisation that there’s no backing vocalists – she’s doing it all herself.
There’s but one song from Into The Nightlife, sadly, and it’s Lyfe, and it’s also in the encore – as you might expect – that she gets round to Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, Time After Time and True Colors.
As she tells the crowd: “You want me to do the greatest hits night after night? They have radio stations for people like that – people who never buy another CD in their life.”
It’s true, she’s right. But some of us wanted material not just from her recent album, but also from the one before that. And while Memphis Blues is great, maybe two more ‘oldies’ – the song perhaps most noticeable by its absence was I Drove All Night – would have made this as legendary a gig as her last UK performance a few years prior.
Joined by the rather lovely Rainy Boy Sleep last night: