The Go-Go's are indisputably the greatest girl band of the 1980s, but they fizzled out halfway through the decade. Their third record, Talk Show, failed even to go gold, a stunning defeat following the rampant success of Beauty and the Beat and the still-reasonable sales of their sophomore effort, Vacation. After the breakup most of the band's members wallowed in relative obscurity, though guitarist Jane Wiedlin continued to crank out records and agitate for animal rights. Vocalist Belinda Carlisle did manage to build herself a career of sorts, spending the remainder of the 1980s recording such saccharine numbers as "Circle in the Sand" and "Heaven Is a Place on Earth." Although commercially successful, this glossy pop struck a sad note coming from the woman who supplied one of the first voices for rock 'n' roll girl power.
But with the release this year of God Bless the Go-Go's, the quintet has recaptured the old magic and brings it to Sunrise Musical Theatre this Friday. The band members have grown up a bit, but it seems they still know how to party. At the very least, the 42-year-old Carlisle still looks good, damn good, as any reader of Playboy will tell you.
And while full frontal nudity might not fly with the grrrls of today, many current stars do acknowledge their debt to the beat beauties. Even pop-punk standard-bearer Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day makes a guest appearance on the new album on a song he cowrote, "Unforgiven." Not surprisingly the song is also the first single off the album. If you don't think the Go-Go's influenced Green Day, just try this little experiment: Listen to any Green Day song, then imagine Carlisle singing it. Then try the whole process in reverse. Eerie, huh?
Sunrise Musical Theatre, 5555 NW 95th Ave., Sunrise
Friday, July 27, at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $32.50, $37.50, or $42.50. Call 954-741-7300.
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