The Go Go’s revisit four decades of hits at Dayton’s Rose Music Center
Fast Times At Ridgemont High is probably the quintessential movie that captured what the 80’s was all about. The essence of the entire decade was captured in that couple of hours, like a time capsule to be preserved forever. As that movie opens there is a quick double strum of a power chord. That single note struck in succession is so easily identifiable, and so perfectly suited to this movie. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, where the hell have you been the last twenty some years? Of course I’m talking about “We Got The Beat” by the Go Go’s. What Fast Times did for the movies of that era, the Go Go’s did the same for the music. The Go Go’s encapsulate the 80’s in their sound, their look and their attitude.
I remember the first time I saw a picture of the Go Go’s. It was maybe around 1982 and it was a large poster on my aunt’s bedroom wall. I remember thinking “these chicks are hot!” Everywhere you went you saw their photos whether it be magazine covers at the grocery or large displays at the record stores (yes kids, we actually had to go outside of our houses to buy music) or you heard them on Mtv (when Mtv was cool and you could actually find music on it) or on the radio, or in the earlier case, in movie soundtracks. Formed in the late 70’s, initially as a punk band, the Go Go’s quickly garnered everyone’s attention when they went more pop/punk with their 1981 release Beauty and the Beat. They have been a pop culture icon ever since.
Fast forward to today, 38 years since their formation, the Go Go’s have embarked on a farewell tour. Stopping at the Rose Music Center in Huber Heights Ohio, the Go Go’s are going out as fiercely as they began. Opening with well known classic “Vacation”, the Go Go’s took the stage after the crowd had been duly warmed up by openers Kaya Stewart and Best Coast. Belinda Carlisle, Jane Wiedlin, Charlotte Caffey and Gina Schock (the only original member missing was Kathy Valentine) came to rock and to celebrate nearly four decades of kicking ass, and honestly, they looked to have barely aged.
After the first few numbers, Belinda remarked how Ohio always had the rowdiest crowds and launched into “This Town”. “Mad About You”, the first non-Go Go’s song was next, but I guess it is a distant cousin as it is from Belinda’s solo recordings. “Insincere” was next and then the band, who then let everyone in on their punk rock past, played some of their early punk songs like “Screaming”, “Fun With Ropes” and “Good Girl”.
Two cover songs were then thrown in, the Sparks’ “Cool Places” and the Capitols “Cool Jerk”. During “Cool Jerk”, the band brought about a dozen fans on stage to dance. One young girl, looking like she was maybe 8 or 9, looked like a mini Belinda as she mimicked her dance moves through the duration of the song. When this was over, Gina came out from behind the drum kit to announce that it was Belinda’s birthday. She then led the audience in a rendition of “Happy Birthday” as a cake, complete with candles, was brought out for Belinda. Then some lucky bastard was hand fed cake by Jane.
Getting back into the swing of the show, the Go Go’s finished up the set with “Lust For Love”, “Our Lips Are Sealed” and “We Got The Beat” before making their way off stage to thunderous applause. This didn’t last long. Coming back out, they opened the encore with a cover of “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus before closing with “Head Over Heels”.
And with that, the Go Go’s were done and off to their next stop. It seems strange that after all these years the Go Go’s will cease to exist. Maybe that won’t really be the case, after all, most farewell tours seem to happen more than once. But if it is the end, the Go Go’s are owed our eternal gratitude for the music they gave us, not just the generation that grew up with them, but everyone’s, because their legend and their music has proven it will stand the test of time. This can best be summed up by one of their own album titles, God Bless The Go Go’s.