Concert review: Culture Club and Boy George quite the entertainers

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. — Both British groups hit the heights of their popularity in the 1980s and had a string of hit songs that have a danceable beat.

Culture Club and its mesh of soul, funk, reggae and punk, and opening act The Thompson Twins with its techno music performed Sunday night at the Grand Theater at Foxwoods Resort Casino.

Culture Club, led by iconic frontman Boy George, 57, opened with David Bowie's "Let's Dance." Bowie and and George are both known for their androgynous looks and George was inspired by his fellow Englishman.

The flamboyant and witty showman, dressed in a black outfit, then lit into "It's A Miracle" with one of three female backup singers.

The show turned into a dance party with "I'll Tumble 4 Ya"

The band's first new song in two decades, the spirited "Let Somebody Love You" off the new album "Life" is reggae tinged.

The splendid "Time" showcased a band member playing a flute and then an eye-catching white sax on the popular song. George explained the song was part of their London soul sound influenced by Sly and the Family Stone and Gladys Knight.

"Truth is a Runaway Train" is also off the new album and had one of the guitarists playing piano and also featured harmonica.

The 1987 cover of "Everything I Own" is extensively reworked from the original by Bread, turned into a slow reggae tune.

The audience stood for "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me," which was Culture Club’s first hit, peaking at No. 2 on the charts.

A cover of Sly and the Family Stone's rocking and funky "Different Man" featured George dueting with a backup male singer.

On “Miss You Blind” bassist Mikey Craig co-sang.

Other original members are guitarist/keyboardist Roy Hay and drummer Jon Moss.

There was a different version of “Church of the Poisoned Mind” that was followed by the new "You Give Me Life" that involved three keyboards.

The encore brought Robert Palmer's "Addicted to Love" and chart topper "Karma Chameleon" that is one danceable tune.

Culture Club, which won a Grammy for best new artist of the year in 1984, has sold more than 50 million records. Boy George's real name is George Alan O'Dowd.

What was a synthesizer heavy trio during their peak, Thompson Twins is down to one original member, lead singer/guitarist Tom Bailey.

Starting off with the bass filled "Love On Your Side" from 1983, the song saw Bailey on keyboard.

Bailey played harmonica on the beginning and ending of "You Take Me Up" where an enormous red balloon was tossed among the crowd.

"King For a Day" hit No. 8 on the charts in 1986. "Lies" saw Bailey playing around with drum sticks.

"Science Fiction" relied heavy on video as did several songs. "Lay Your Hands on Me" was a No. 6 song in 1985.

A highlight, "Doctor! Doctor!" from 1984, which just missed the Top 10, prompted the lead singer and audience to jump up and down.

Bailey jammed with a keyboardist on a sing-along, "Hold Me Now," a No. 3 number from 1984 for which the earth and sun were shown on screen.

The group was rounded out with two backup female singers who played keyboards and a female drummer, all dressed in white as was Bailey.

Thompson Twins actually had their start in 1977.