Cyndi Lauper – 30th June 2011 – HMV Hammersmith Apollo

In the eighties, Cyndi Lauper proved to be a juggernaut of pop fury providing the decade with some of the most iconic and memorable hits to represent the genre. Her wild and wacky individuality mixed with her hook laden records and flawless, pitch perfect voice created a persona that went on to win multiple Grammys and solidify her place within the recording industrys most elite.

From her up-tempo floor fillers such as Girls Just Wanna Have Fun and She Bop down to power ballads like Time After TimeAll Through The Night and True Colors as well as I Drove All Night, which was originally penned for and later released by Roy Orbison, we were never disappointed with what the multi-talented queen of punk pop released. Over the nineties unfortunately we fell less accustomed to heavyweight releases from Lauper as her star became slightly eclipsed by Madonna however her engine never ran dry and she has continued to release albums periodically for her enormous fanbases delight.

Her new record pays homage to her blues roots and the songbird gets a helping hand from some of the genres most sought after and legendary musicians. Memphis Blues sees Lauper trading in her pop persona for a Tennessee gem and promoting the record she took to the confines of London’s HMV Apollo in Hammersmith for a one off capital gig to play some new tracks taken from the record as well as some rearranged versions of her classics.

Motoring through some of the eighties most significant additions to music like a power engine of pop Lauper unleashed bluesy versions of some of her biggest and most iconic hits. Those that made the list were an early performance of She Bop, which saw the crowd lift with dancing feet at the ready. Her signiture hit Girls Just Wanna Have Fun proved to be as popular and crowd pleasing within the set as it was over 20 years ago when it helped propel the singer into the successful stratosphere of global recognition. The track allowed Lauper to include the crowd in a sing-off as she split the audience into three parts combining the orginal and reggae versions of the song making for a truly special moment in the night.

Change of Heart and the singer’s contribution to the Steven Speilberg film favorite, The GooniesThe Goonies R Good Enough, were bouncy numbers while my personal favourite Lauper number, All Through The Night, was performed with faultless precision and gave me goosebumps as she poured her heart out over a slide guitar and gave the evening its most nostalgic moment.

We were also treated to her amazing cover of the Marvin Gaye classic What’s Goin On which sat gently within the set and would make the late soul singer very proud.

Among the new album’s inclusions the swaying and harmonica heavy Down Don’t Bother Me saw the singer showing her backing and highly experienced band do a bit of showing off, some of which the singer has worked with for near to twenty years and have featured on many of her hits.

The piano intro of Mother Earth found a complimenting place within the latter section of the set and proved to be one of the nights most sweeping additions with New Orleans present in full force as Lauper hoped around a sticatto melody of bouncy guitar tinkerings with effortless detail.

With her new record Memphis Blues currently fronting Lauper’s most current project we were offered a good chunk of the record displaying the singers impeccable ability to sway from power pop numbers to blues infused anthems. The tracks that the new album features are both fresh and fitting to the singer’s vocal capability and personality.

With the artist providing several anicdotes to her loving and dedicated fanbase including the story of her early days performing the song Carrie on the streets following a shout out request from a member of the audience and giving a brief accapella version of the track the singer also made several journeys into the crowd balancing on the arms of the odd vacant seat as the audience tumbled down to be within arms length from thier idol while she continued belting out hit after hit.

She was also accommodating to members of the crowd who were keen to take as many pictures as possible of the singer and at one point stopped a story mid way to comment on how a photo taken by a male front row member of the audience would make her “look like Frankenstein” and then proceeded to lay down on the stage in a saucy pose to allow her fans to take pictures at thier leisure.

Nearing the end of the set we saw Lauper introduce her support Rainy Boy Sleep back onto the stage for a duet of her timeless classic Time After Time. Though the support looked clearly taken abake by his inclusion on the song with the pop icon the blending of both voices formed a perfect harmonised unison.

The night’s performance ended with a touching story of Lauper’s friend Gregory, a street cast teen who she befriended around the time of recording the True Colors album but who died on the streets before the singer set into a heartwarming display of sentiment and affection as we were treated to a stripped back performance of True Colors, the song which she dedicated to her friend.

Over the course of the evening we were treated to an array of classic numbers from one of musics most incredible performers as well as a vast selections of new hits that the singer has added her bluesy magic touch to. We were also shown a superstar with a heart as she explained her fight for equality through her True Colors Foundation and her pride for her enormous gay following which she helps through her many charities. Just like the days of the eighties Cyndi Lauper is on a level that todays rising stars dream to reach. With a voice and a down to earth personality to match we can’t wait to see what is in store for Cyndi Lauper over the years to come and can’t wait for her return to the UK to show us just what an entertainer is supposed to do and what Lauper does so spectacularly.

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