November 1st, 2016
Platinum Blonde / Culture Club
The TD Place Area within Ottawa’s newly redeveloped Landsdowne Park once again played host to an evening of ’80s retrospectives on November 1, 2016, featuring two of the biggest rock bands of the era: Canada’s premiere new wave band Platinum Blonde, opening for British pop-rockers Culture Club.
Platinum Blonde, kicked things off at 8 pm and featured two original members: lead singer / bassist Mark Holmes, guitarist Sergio Galli, supported by Daniel Todd on drums. The band proceeded to run through a solid set of favorites which included Hungry Eyes, Valentine, Beautiful, Standing in the Dark, Situation Critical, Doesn’t Really Matter and Crying Over. The 45 minute set, showed that they were still in great form overall, reacquainting concert-goes with a band that hasn’t been to Ottawa in more than a decade. The group proved to be a perfect complement to the evenings headliner.
By 9 pm Culture Club, led by their ever-flamboyant front man Boy George, took to the stage with a brilliant ensemble of supporting musicians to help elevate the bands original line-up to another level in celebration of their recent North American Tour.
They opened the set with a great cross-section of their hits starting with Church of the Poison Mind, followed by It’s a Miracle and I’ll Tumble 4 Ya, with the 55-year-old George Alan O’Dowd in a charming mood as he chatted warmly with the audience between songs throughout the evenings programme.
The true highlight of the evening, though, was not the updated renditions of Do You Really Want to Hurt Me? or Karma Chameleon which came later in the show. It wasn’t even a surprisingly phenomenal cover of Prince’s Purple Rain that capped off the set list. It was, instead, the absolute joy radiating from the stage by the entire band from start to finish.
In an age where many touring acts are all too guilty of just “phoning it in” on any given night, it was a refreshing change to see such a time-tested group as this still loving what they do after all these years. They revealed in each and every moment they were on stage, breathing new life into the old favorites, making the whole evening a memorable experience.