Review by Brad Stier, photos by Danielle Boise
If there’s any wonder if pop music icon Cyndi Lauper is still “unusual,” then wonder no more. She is and that’s a very, very good thing. Celebrating the 30th anniversary of her debut album She’s So Unusual, Lauper made a stop at Atlanta’s Symphony Hall on Tuesday night, devoting an entire evening to the 38-minute record that launched her career and cemented her as a vital piece of ‘80s cultural aesthetic.
Lauper’s main set consisted of playing the entire She’s So Unusual album from beginning to end, stopping only a few times to regale the audience with lengthy stories about her life and the making of the record. Listening to Cyndi recall her New York life was a special treat. She punctuated her rambling, tangential stories with a winking, bawdy humor that had the sold out crowd roaring with laughter. Most songs also received little anecdotes about their writing or production that provided insight into the way that making music has changed over the last 30 years.
Lauper is famous for toying with the arrangements of her older music. On her most recent tour, she refashioned her older hits into stomping, sweaty blues numbers. This tour finds Lauper not only playing the entire work in running order but also with surprising reverence to the original, spiky arrangements. Most astonishing though remains Cyndi’s powerhouse vocals. Even 30 years later, she is able to masterfully recreate the quirky tics and operatic runs that punctuate She’s So Unusual. Her voice is as strong, if not even stronger, than it was when the album was recorded.
While just glancing over the setlist below will certainly cement the amount of hits heard during the night’s main set, the encore presented the evening’s highlights. “Change of Heart” was presented in its 12” remix form with an extended outro that highlighted the technical expertise of her band. The fan favorite rarity “Hat Full of Stars” was presented in a powerful a capella performance that found both the audience and the singer tearful. “True Colors,” Lauper’s favorite set-closer, was performed with stunning intimacy by only the artist and her dulcimer and the quiet backing of the fan’s vocals.
After 16 million copies, She’s So Unusual is still as vibrant and impressive as it was when it launched its seven hit singles 30 years ago. As Tuesday’s show again showcased, Cyndi Lauper proves to be the same. She’s a true artist blessed with uncommon talent, gracious generosity, and the most endearing and, yes, unusual personality.
Cyndi Lauper SETLIST: July 2, 2013
Money Changes Everything
Girls Just Want to Have Fun
When You Were Mine
Time After Time
All Through the Night
I’ll Kiss You