GIG REVIEW: The B-52’s at Eventim Apollo

By Carron Stacey

WHERE?: Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith

WHEN?: 30/6/19

It’s been a week since we saw them and my opinion is still the same – one of the best live shows I’ve ever seen. Here’s why.

  • Read on for reasons including; ‘Hurry up and bring your jukebox money!’

I first like to explain what sort of a fan I am. Mr Humdrum is more the fan than I am, although I’m quite familiar with most of their albums. I knew (and loved) Rock Lobster and Planet Claire from my local nightclub in the 80s and much preferred the earlier stuff to the poppier Love Shack/Roam singles. 

Off we popped last Sunday to the Hammersmith Apollo, via the Rik Mayall Bottom bench. What a venue (the Apollo not the bench!) – art deco, built in 1932 and currently in a gorgeous shade of green. A stunning bar leads into the (last week seated) venue. Late tickets equal restricted view, but we found a spot between two pillars and I managed to see quite a bit more than I usually can at gigs, being of slightly smaller stature than the majority of the audience. I did realise, all too late, that I, dressed in black and white, was perhaps the most conservative of the whole audience. To my shame.

Leading up to their entrance, their flag flew declaring “Let your freak flag fly” which the audience loved. They opened with Private Idaho; Schneider in stripy, deckchair shirt, Cindy in her silver space suit complete with hair (of course) and Kate in rainbow (Pride) dress with flappy, floaty winged sleeves. With a combined age of 200, those three had so much physical and vocal energy that it was hard to imagine they were the age of my own parents! (No offence mum n dad.)

Their harmonies never failed, their voices filled the auditorium, they danced all night and well, Fred actually talks like he sings! The songs kept coming, it felt like a non-stop party; even the songs I wasn’t familiar with were brilliant. The band were fantastic. Love Shack was given a (dare I say it, well-needed?) pep-up seguing into War’s Low Rider – darn, I can’t find it on YouTube! The girls’ beautiful harmonies on Roam were exquisite and reminded me actually what a good song it was, when you consider the meaning – perhaps there’s more of a need to listen to that song nowadays instead of back in the 90s. 

Encore – we thought we would go through the floor such was the stamping. Planet Claire – my absolute favourite, with Kate singing “that bit” instead of any keyboards – utterly amazing. 6060-842 and, obviously, Rock Lobster. You imagine that perhaps the guitar might not be perfect, it was. He won’t hit the high notes, he did. He will do that irritating thing that singers do where they sing the lyric before the right time, or in a totally different way (Robert Smith did grrr). No he didn’t. I’m not saying it was album-perfect, as that would be boring. It was perfect though. I can’t think of any other group I’ve seen that whipped their audience up into such a party mood. You get the feeling they could’ve gone on for another hour – well, I was waiting for Quiche Lorraine and Strobe Light, which has now become my week-long earworm. 

It was billed as their farewell tour, but when they arrived on stage, they said it wasn’t. Thankfully. You need to see them. Yes you, and me again. Guys, your freaks need you to fly again!

  • Main picture via B-52’s courtesy Facebook. Picture in review body by Carron. Enjoyed this review? Find Carron on Twitter @AHumDrumMum and check out her blog More about The B-52s. What’s on at the Eventim Apollo

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