“Rock Lobster,” “Roam,” “Planet Claire,” “Private Idaho,” “Channel Z,” and “Love Shack.” These are the classic party song hits that shaped the career of the band, The B-52s. After playing an extremely energetic concert at the White Oak Amphitheater in Greensboro Saturday night, it is plain to see that the group still has every ounce of charisma and artistic ability they had when they first appeared on the music scene, and have no plans to slow down anytime soon.
The group was established in 1976 in Athens, Georgia by Fred Schneider (vocals, cowbell), Kate Pierson (vocals, keyboards), Cindy Wilson (vocals, tambourine, bongos), Ricky Wilson (guitar), and Keith Strickland (drums). Influenced by the rock and roll hits of the 1960’s, the group’s sound can be described in many ways, however, the best description falls somewhere between Pop and New Wave. The first hit for the band was “Rock Lobster” in 1978, which sported their now famous upbeat tempo that the group is known for, and what fans have continued to love.
At the beginning of Saturday’s concert, the crowd was unsure whether they would remain dry, seeing as there were impending thunderstorms in the forecast. Thankfully, however, the band came onstage before one drop could fall. Though the amphitheater was a smaller venue than The B-52s have played in the past, the audience more than made up for the small space their enthusiasm. Numerous attendees took to dancing wherever possible throughout the night, and the high number of energetic songs played made the show into a lively party that was enjoyed by all.
The average age of concert go-ers was around the forty or fifty range, however, there were quite a few children under the age of ten present as well who seemed to enjoy the music as much as their parents. This attests to the group’s fantastic ability to sound exactly the same as when they first started, if not better. The set list for the evening included songs from their 2008 album such as “Pump,” “Love in the Year 3000,” “Ultraviolet,” and “Dancing Now.” The band’s biggest hits, “Roam,” “Rock Lobster,” “Private Idaho,” “Planet Claire,” and “Love Shack” were also performed which resulted in most audience members dancing in their seats, aisles, or wherever space was available.
With a few of the band members almost in their sixties, it is amazing to see how much energy they all possess on stage. With their sprightly dance moves that did not stop all night, not many would question their age. The critics who have said the group should retire could not be more wrong. It is quite apparent after seeing The B-52s that these musicians are doing exactly what they want to do at this point and time, and are simply enjoying the career they have established for themselves. There is still a great deal for this quirky group to achieve in the coming years, and as their hit songs says, “Roam if you want to,” which is exactly what they plan to do.