Forty years ago today--on August 21, 1982--the Go-Go's played the Pacific Coliseum.
The L.A. pop/new-wave band was composed of Belinda Carlisle on lead vocals, Charlotte Caffey on lead guitar and keyboards, Jane Wiedlin on rhythm guitar, Kathy Valentine on bass, and Gina Schock on drums.
A year earlier the Go-Go's had hit it big with their debut album, Beauty and the Beat, which reached number one on Billboard and spawned the hits "Our Lips Are Sealed" and "We Got the Beat".
The Vancouver concert took place exactly one month and a day after the quintet released its second album, Vacation, which I thought had a pretty catchy title track.
I'm not too sure why I had a backstage pass for that show, and I don't remember using it.
I do know that the next night (August 22, 1982) I returned to the Coliseum to see the mighty Blue Öyster Cult perform on its Fire of Unknown Origin Tour.
Sure wish I'd had a backstage pass for that one.
Anyway, here's my skimpy review of the Go-Go's show, which was published in the August 27, 1982 issue of the Georgia Straight.
In contrast to the denim and T-shirt crowd [for Blue Öyster Cult] at the Coliseum Sunday, miniskirts and Hawaiian patterns were the popular thing the night before (August 21) when the Go-Go's brought their catchy brand of fun-time music up from the California surf.
Down on the arena floor, heads bopped in constant unison as the all-girl band rocked out on "Our Lips Are Sealed", "We Got the Beat", and their latest hit from the album of the same name, "Vacation".
A swirling red and blue backdrop displayed liquidy effects, and the lean, brass-tacks sound rolling offstage made me feel like a little kid again. Or maybe it was just seeing all the youngsters about that made me yearn for the carefree days of old. Probably a little of both.
At any rate, the light-hearted lyrics and cheery harmonies of the Go-Go's were certainly a departure from the echoey guitar and rowdy vocals that regular patrons of the Coliseum have grown to know and love.
Opening for the Go-Go's were Vancouver's own Payola$, whose Clashy rebelliousness and punkish stance easily won over the hometown crowd. Songs from their current album, No Stranger to Danger, made up the brunt of the Payola$ set, which included an encore performance of the hit single "Eyes of a Stranger".