The Go-Go's
Stella Soleil
John Eddie Band

Wednesday July 25, 2001
The Tabernacle-Atlanta, GA


It’s always nice to go to a show and have a great opening act you’ve never heard of before. It’s awful to have to sit through a horrendous performance while waiting for the headliner. This night saw both extremes back to back.

 John Eddie:

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The show began with a delightfully laid back and self-deprecating set by the New York based John Eddie Band. The leader looked like a cross between George Thorogood and Eddie from Eddie And The Cruisers. He was like a country-rock version of Springsteen. Great originals like the hilarious “I Guess I’m Fucking Forty” may never get any airplay, but when was the last time you heard a good new song on the radio anyway?

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The band was solid, air-tight and the standout was bassist Kenny Aaronson. His fifties greaser look perfectly complemented the “best bar band in the world” mentality of the group and his playing was stellar. Their too-short set ended with “Play Some Skynyrd” which kind of says it all about these guys. They even vamped on the outtro solo from “Free Bird” to end their song.  John Eddie may be a day late with the Springsteen-Mellencamp style, but he’s not a dollar short. Maybe that’ll be enough to gain him some notoriety soon.

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Stella Soleil:

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Next up was the most puzzling thing I’ve ever seen. Stella Soleil, bounced out like a bad acid trip cheerleader. She was a hybrid of Toni Basil, Charro and every 12-year old girl that ever danced on Star Search (except that Stella looked on the other side of 30.) It was funny for about one song, but after three or four I fully expected Andy Kaufman to come out as their “manager” or something. Her “band” consisted of one out of tune guy on rhythm guitar, the world’s worst DJ and a backup singer. That’s it. It was awful…truly, truly awful. By her set-closing massacre of Kim Wilde’s “Kids In America”, the audience was actually booing in their own Atlanta version of Amateur Night At The Apollo. There were even a few hisses. I just want to know who made us suffer through this and why? Whatever we did to deserve this, we’re sorry.


The Go-Go's:

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Finally, The Go-Go’s appeared on a stage covered in mirror balls, flowers and blessed mothers. Kicking off with “Head Over Heels”, the band seemed in good spirits. The songs from the new God Bless The Go-Go’s album were actually better than most of their better known tunes (particularly “Automatic Rainy Day” and “Sonic Superslide”), but it was the handful of hits that people came to hear, and they played all of them except “Turn To You.” “Vacation” was the first major sing-a-long, but not the last. The band bounced, posed and played great.

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Lead singer (and Playboy model) Belinda Carlisle seemed to be having fun, but her voice seemed a bit weak from all of their recent shows. It was okay most of the time, but it was (forgive the bad pun) unforgivably off on the new single “Unforgiven.” Rhythm guitarist Jane Weidlin was comic relief all night. She talked to the audience with her high, child-like voice more than the front-woman did. Charlotte Caffey did double duty on lead-guitar and keyboards and was dead-on all night. Drummer Gina Schock looked tired, but played hard and heavy, holding it all together while the other member of the rhythm section, bassist Kathy Valentine, kicked up her high heels and played rock star.

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The moody “Automatic” and rocking “How Much More” were personal favorites, but it wasn’t until the set ending audience participation laden “Our Lips Are Sealed” and “We Got The Beat” that the crowd really lost it. The show ended with an upbeat, much happier (and more harmonized) cover of The Ramones’ “I Wanna Be Sedated.” This was a good, but not great, guilty pleasure of a show that brought back a lot of fun memories.

 (Chris McKay/