Last night, the House of Blues Boston hosted the joint Cyndi Lauper-Dr. John tour, and there was much rejoicing. I went for Dr. John, who is among my favorite musicians, expecting Cyndi Lauper to just be a nice bonus. I was confused about how their sounds went together, but I had faith. And, well. Apparently Cyndi Lauper sings the blues now. And it is pretty fabulous.
Dr. John was the opener, technically, but he and his band were up there for at least an hour, more like an hour and a half, playing the best of cajun rock n roll. As per usual with him, his band was amazing, from the drummer to the trombone player, and it really didn’t seem like they were there as “Dr. John’s band” but as “the band that Dr. John is a part of.” A group of virtuosos.
Dressed to the nines, of course, Dr. John walked and danced stiffly but his fingers still fly. Truly amazing to listen to.
He and Cyndi did a couple of duets at the end of his set, one of which (Wang Dang Doodle) Cyndi didn’t know very well, but it was a fun finale. A pair of powerhouses.
And then Cyndi came back for her set, and wow that woman is a rock star.
I don’t even know where to start. She’s just a straight-up motherfucking rock star. Head-to-toe leather; wild, partially-pink hair; badass attitude. And then she started singing the blues and I was like WHOA.
She never stopped moving, dancing around the stage with more energy than most of the audience, interacting with her band and just full-on rocking out. She sang some upbeat songs, some slow songs, some things I’d never heard and classics like Robert Johnson’s “Crossroads.” She kept coming down to the front row and at one point she scolded someone who was holding a video camera mere inches from her face, telling him he was going miss the show.
The woman just has presence. And talent. You wouldn’t think, listening to her classic hits, that she has such a deep, bluesy range but oh God she does. Some of the notes she hit were jaw-dropping.
Even her own band seemed to be in awe of her, and she introduced some of them as having been with her for decades. They kept shaking their heads and just had looks on their faces like, “damn.” It was kind of touching.
However, while the music was good there was a lot of logistical mis-management, for which I blame the House of Blues. The show was advertised as starting at 7, doors at 6. According to security managing the massive line, the show was in fact “supposed to” start at 8, doors at 7, it had been advertised wrong. “Supposed to,” huh? Even yesterday they were tweeting the “wrong” time. Get it together, HOB.
So everyone was there super-early and kind of cranky by the time we were let inside. Also, I had to stand in line next to a running bus for a while, which smelled awesome let me tell you. But the good Doctor started promptly at 8 and the annoyance quickly evaporated because really you can’t be unhappy listening to that man play.
There were also some sound/mic problems, the most egregious being when they didn’t turn on one of Cyndi’s instruments and she was kneeling by the board trying to figure it out herself. (Which she did. I assume when you’ve been doing this as long as she has, those boards aren’t as much of a mystery as they are to, say, me.) So. I expect better of a venue like the House of Blues. Maybe pay less attention to the flat-screen TVs and more to working the mics properly?
But overall it was a fabulous show. Two stars doing what they do best—rocking our collective face off.