The B-52’s make a triumphant return to Vancouver in the wake of Cosmic Thing


photo by Kevin Statham


By Steve Newton

Why, on why, did the B-52’s have to get booked into the Orpheum? As one of the prime providers of bouncy, shake-your-booty pop-rock, the band would have been so much better in a place where it’s okay to move around, and where concert-goers have the option of sipping on a cold one while grooving to the tunes. Oh well, you takes what you gets, I suppose. The sell-out crowd at the Orpheum last Wednesday (January 17) certainly made the best of the situation.

Riding on a comeback fueled by the irresistible hit single, “Love Shack”, the B-52’s focused on tracks from the new Cosmic Thing album, but also delved into past albums for the zany, junk-culture-inspried tunes that first made them popular. Down to a quartet since the death of former member Ricky Wilson, the band is still a rollicking force to be reckoned with.

Former drummer Keith Strickland has taken over Wilson’s guitar spot with skill and aplomb, and the three-way vocal team of Fred Schneider, Kate Pierson, and Cindy Wilson has never sounded better. Pierson and Wison have lost their beehive haridos, but gold-lame jackets and frilly, Arabian Nights-style outfits still prevail. All it took was one ’60s style dance move by Pierson to get the crowd hyped.

The excitement of the whole thing got too much for the audience when the group launched into “Love Shack”, and the predictable rush to the stage ensued. “Has anybody seen my missing spaceship?” asked Schneider, before the band took off for “Planet Claire”, an early fave.

Blue-shirted bouncers were put on alert for the remainder of the show, and the wild reaction to “Rock Lobster” didn’t help their cause any, but things never got too out of hand. Wrong venue notwithstanding, a good time was had by most.

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