Cyndi Lauper played the House of Blues in Orlando last night, a celebration of 30 years since the release of her debut album. THIRTY years, really? OMG. As I did a quick scroll through Google to see what to expect of the show, I learned that Ms. Lauper is now 60 years old. What? Yes, 60. She’s sold over 50 million records, and she’s still rocking.
“Nobody ever goes on before 9:00” said my husband while we were eating dinner 45 min away. Famous last words (as my mother used to say in her Boston accent). We arrived at HOB at 8:20 to find Cyndi on stage singing Money Changes Everything. I made a quick pit stop and asked the restroom attendant how long she had been on. “This is her first song.” she said smiling.
We wiggled our way down to the bar on the right side of the stage, this is my favorite spot because you can get a pretty close-up view of the performer. We were indeed close enough to see her signature squint and lip curl, especially when she sang All Through The Night with a hand-held white light against her face in the deep blue light of the stage darkness.
Cyndi was rocking some cherry red twisted tendrils of hair that cascaded around her face and bounced as she spun around and around in circles on stage in her combat boots. “I think her feet are actually bigger than yours.” my husband snickered in my ear. Somehow I doubt it. But I was happy that I had chosen to rock a pair of flowered jeans with my own purple combat boots for the show. Cyndi and I have been on a similar fashion page for a long time.
Cyndi was my favorite artist in the 80’s and I took her music with me from high school to college. As an art student at Syracuse University I was inspired to do many portraits of my favorite colorful idol. This piece (above) is photographed in the freshman lounge of my dorm in 1986.
Cyndi’s newspaper skirt on the back of her second album True Colors (1986) was fashion design and creativity that stuck with me. Years later it was on my mind when I created a paper skirt of my own to wear to my first local solo exhibition at the Maitland Art Center in Maitland, FL.
During the show Cyndi really connected with the audience. At one point she climbed down an 8-foot ladder into the the press pit in front of the stage, she walked over to and climbed up on the barrier between her and the audience, and sang to them. Those lucky ducks on the floor were face-to-face with an amazing woman who reached out and held their hands as she sang.
Can you imagine? being in the face of such greatness?
You might ask me, “what has Cyndi Lauper done lately?” because maybe you weren’t paying attention, or maybe you figured she’s slowing down now that she’s 60.
She’s was far from slowing down on stage last night as she bopped to her 80’s tunes and ended with some more recent work like Shine and her rendition of At Last which really highlighted her vocal ability. She ended with True Colors for which she sat and played the auto harp on her lap and really had the audience engaged.
In addition to She Bopping, Ms. Lauper has been an advocate for gay and transgender rights in the U.S. for over 30 years. Her efforts were recognized in 2013 when she was invited as a special guest to the inauguration of President Obama’s second term.
In 2013 Cynthia Ann Stephanie “Cyndi Lauper” wrote both the music and lyrics for the Broadway musical Kinky Boots which led the 2013 Tony Awards with 13 nominations and six awards including Best Musical and Best Score. She sang Sex is in the Heel last night which is the single that made her the first artist in over 25 years to top the dance charts with a Broadway single.
The last time I saw Cyndi perform at HOB she was promoting her album Memphis Blues. This album became Billboard’s biggest selling blues album of 2010. The Memphis Blues tour was her biggest ever with more than 140 shows. I am here to tell you that she really belts out the blues! Who would have thought?
Still inspiring products of the 80’s like me, I’m thankful that Ms. Lauper is going strong at 60, reminding me that you are NEVER too old to rock combat boots and colorful hair. I was at the mall over the weekend with my teenage daughter and the dressing room attendant at Forever 21 (LOL what a great name) looked at me and said “I love your hair” (she was not a day over 21). I told her a quick story about how someone recently gave me a hard time about being too old to rock this Lauper Look and she followed up with this: “Age is about being comfortable in your own skin, not about how old you are.”
I like it.
Elizabeth St Hilaire Nelson
Colorful Collage Artist