Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My Life With the Thrill Kill Go-Go's

Tonight I will attend my 5th Go-Go's concert when the band kicks off the MN Zoo's summer concert series. The band had intended to do a farewell tour last summer, which was put on hold after Jane required knee surgery following a hiking accident. Call it divine intervention, but the band's current tour is not a farewell but a 30th anniversary celebration of their 1981 debut, Beauty and the Beat.  The moniker of this summer's tour: Ladies Gone Wild!

Rewind 31 years...

1980 was a shitty-ass year. I was a freshman in a big scary high school, my family was trying their best to navigate through my dad's alcoholism (he achieved sobriety years later), and to top it all off, my hero John Lennon was murdered. It was one of the lowest points in my life, and when you're that age it's hard to imagine that things can get better.

For me the symbolism of the The Go-Go's arrival is mucho significant because it marked what soon became a much happier chapter in my teen life. Sophomore year started off as sucky as the previous year, and I was still healing from Lennon's assassination. Then one night out of nowhere I saw this new all-female group on Solid Gold performing their first single, "Our Lips Are Sealed." It was one of the catchiest records I'd ever heard, and I needed to hear it again and again. I found an import 45 at a downtown record shop, and then the full LP at Don Leary's records in St. Anthony. I joined their fan club. In hindsight I can see how The Go-Go's filled a gap, leading to some much needed healing in my life. It wasn't long before I was involved in music at school and making friendships that I maintain to this day.

The official Go-Go's newsletter
My first Go-Go's concert was February 2, 1982 when they opened for the Police at the Met Center. I saw them again in October '82 headlining their own tour for the Vacation album. By the time of their 3rd album, Talk Show (1984), The Go-Go's were splintering. A scheduled concert on Nicollet Island was cancelled, and the following year the group disbanded.  As much as the breakup sucked for me as a fan, it was exciting to hear Jane Wiedlin's first solo LP in '85, as well as Belinda's perky & glamorous debut (Belinda's first single, "Mad About You", was actually intended for the Go-Go's, which is why the band now includes it in their live shows).  Unfortunately the band's individual careers featured more lows than highs (two big highs: Belinda's Real LP (1993), and Jane's band froSTed, which released one kickass album in '96).

In 1990 the Go-Go's embarked on a brief reunion tour in support of a greatest hits collection, and since then the gals have stuck it out together, hitting the road every few years and even releasing new material (3 great tunes on the '94 retrospective Return to the Valley of the Go-Go's, and the full-length God Bless The Go-Go's in 2001).  The 1990 tour was the third time I saw the band (at my fave venue, First Avenue), and on July 3, 2001 I saw them perform at the Taste of MN, just two days after my partner (now husband) and I had our commitment ceremony (we got legally wed in DC last summer).

Which brings us to TODAY, and it feels like my life as a fan has come full circle. I'm glad the Go-Go's are surviving (and it hasn't been easy from what I understand), and I'm glad that I am still around to enjoy their success. It gives me hope.  Some of the gals have been tweeting over the past day since arriving in Minneapolis, which has been fun to follow.  As for me, I plan to rock my ass off at tonight's show.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yeah. The Belinda Carlisle song "I Get Weak" 1988, was the perfect bar song. Feminine Beatlesque.