Blondie and Culture Club come to Vancouver

Culture Club and Blondie bring their reunion tours to the casinos.

July 16, 2015

Although they became familiar to their fellow New Yorkers on-stage at punk rock’s ground zero, CBGB (alongside the likes of Ramones and Patti Smith), Blondie never aspired to cult nobility. They were a pop band, worshipful of Phil Spector girl groups and the brilliant stupidity of the Archies’ “Sugar Sugar.” (Singer Debbie Harry also had some skeletons in her closet: she was already in her 30s and had tasted failure in a dippy late-’60s folk-rock group named Wind in the Willows.) Blondie became very popular in North America, but in the U.K. they were positively massive: 10 singles in the Top 10 and four platinum albums between 1977 and ’81, and Harry became perhaps the most iconic female face in the nation since Dusty Springfield.

Among her besotted British fans was young George O’Dowd, who had his own designs on pop stardom. Renaming himself Boy George, he cultivated a then-radical androgynous image and, with his group Culture Club, began achieving his dream just as Blondie’s career went into free fall. By the mid ’80s, he too had crashed and burned, but not before selling tens of millions of records and minting two karaoke mainstays, “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me” and “Karma Chameleon.”

Harry has just turned 70; O’Dowd, 54. Which means it’s time for reunions (Blondie has reactivated itself many times since the ’90s) and a trawl of the casino circuit.

 

Culture Club

Friday, July 17, 8pm

Hard Rock Casino Theatre (2080 United Blvd., Coquitlam)

Tickets $140-$165 from Ticketmaster

and

Saturday, July 18, 8pm

River Rock Show Theatre (8811 River Rd., Richmond)

Tickets $140 from Ticketmaster

 

Blondie

Wednesday, July 22, 8pm

River Rock Show Theatre (8811 River Rd., Richmond)

Tickets $90-$105 from Ticketmaster

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