Boy George was way ahead of his time. A band fronted by a male who performed in full make up and androgynous clothes was groundbreaking in the early 1980s, when gay were almost unheard of at the time. The fact that Cultural Club had remarkably catchy songs certainly helped prove that the band and Boy George were more than just a gimmick. In fact, their music is right up there with Madonna, Prince and Springsteen in having defined the era. That in mind, it’s almost as impressive to hear how well the music, songs like “Church of the Poison Mind,” “Do You Really Want to Hurt me” and “I’ll Tumble for Ya,” have held up more than three decades later. Nowhere is that more apparent than on the DVD/CD set Live At Wembley.
Recorded at the end of 2016, with a fully reunited Culture Club, this compact set (15 songs total), capture a band that can play with as much energy as when they were packing stadiums in the mid- ‘80s. The band brings along a horn section and a stellar collective of back-up singers to fill out these anthems. While, “Karma Chameleon,” still sounds hopeless dated compared to many of their other hits played that night, it was a clearly a prerequisite for all in attendance. The band, also turns in a couple of solid covers, including a stunning, reggae take on Bread’s normally sappy “Everything I Own,” and closing with an infectious version of “Bang a Gong.”