I was spittin’ nails on Dec. 8, 1984, the day after my friends Candi and Michelle saw Cyndi Lauper in concert at Kemper Arena. All I heard about is that she hovered in a garbage can over the arena performing “Money Changes Everything.” It was the second to last stop of the ’83-’84, 111-date Fun Tour and I missed all the fun. Or did I?
To mark the 30th anniversary of the She’s So Unusual album, Lauper is she-bopping across the country to celebrate the record that skyrocketed her career. This concert represented closure for an unceremonious 8th grade wound. She performed every track in order starting with “Money Changes Everything” through “Yeah Yeah” peppered with stories about how the album came to be. Stand outs of the night included her breakout hit, “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” an ode to teenage sexual freedom; my favorite song off the album, “When You Were Mine,” a Prince cover; and her two hit ballads, “All Through the Night” and “Time After Time.” She talked a lot about how she scared people back in the ’80s and how a lot of them just didn’t get her. Reflecting on my youth at the time, I totally relate. A sample of her words of wisdom: “You can have 10,000 people booing you and 10,000 people cheering you. It’s all the same. You just have to get the intent.” I couldn’t agree more.
Her encore featured five songs: a reprise of “She Bop” with the ladies of Hunter Valentine, the opening act; “Sex is in the Heel” from her Tony-winning musical Kinky Boots; and “Shine” from her 2001 album of the same name. She closed it with “Hat Full of Stars” which she dedicated to her husband and her signature song “True Colors.” I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Some artists shine brighter live. Cyndi Lauper is one of those artists: truly talented and always colorful, all in one affectionately unapologetic Brooklyn-bred package. I’m healed. Eighth grade is over.
Reacquaint yourself with the greatness that is Cyndi Lauper. Grab a hold of my essential picks (or my take on the 12 deadly Cyns):