With all of their various side projects and busy schedules, it’s not often The Bangles find a window of opportunity for touring. But following the release of their recent album, Ladies and Gentlemen…The Bangles, Susanna Hoffs, Vicki Peterson, and Debbi Peterson found time for a brief, eight date East Coast tour that recently rolled into the Theater of Living Arts in Philadelphia, PA.
The focus of this tour was to celebrate the music that put The Bangles together, and for the next ninety minutes the band did just that. Delivering a blistering set of deep cuts and songs from their very first EP as well as fan favorites from their arsenal of hits.
Part of the charm of The Bangles latest album and tour is seeing the band at their stripped-down, authentic best. Gone was the synth/pop sounds from their '80s heyday and in its place was nothing but groove-ridden, surf/punk guitar, bass, and drums.
Every subtle nuance of tracks like “Mary Street,” “Real World,” “I’m In Line,” and their infectious version of Simon & Garfunkel's "A Hazy Shade of Winter" resonated with raw energy. The jangly guitars and silky harmonies a musical window into what it was like when Hoffs and the Peterson sisters first got together in Hoff’s parent’s L.A. garage.
The Bangles’ TLA set also featured several emotional moments. From Hoff’s poignant tribute to Prince – who died earlier this year and also penned the band’s breakthrough smash, “Manic Monday” - to the hauntingly poetic songs, “If She Knew What She Wants” and “Eternal Flame.” The latter every bit as much a last hurrah to the '80s as it was a nod to the fans who’ve been with the band from their early days in the Paisley Underground.
As the Philadelphia faithful left the Theater of Living Arts and into the summer night there was little doubt as to what's made the band’s music so special after so many years. Better still, it proves that although The Bangles’ touring schedule may have gotten smaller they’ve still got plenty left to say.
The Bangles Set List (Philadelphia, PA)
Some Dreams Come True
He's Got a Secret
Going Down to Liverpool (Katrina and the Waves cover)
September Gurls (Big Star cover)
I'm in Line
The Real World
Live (The Merry‐Go‐Round cover)
A Hazy Shade of Winter (Simon & Garfunkel cover)
If She Knew What She Wants (Jules Shear cover)
Open My Eyes (Nazz cover)
In Your Room
Hero Takes a Fall
Walk Like an Egyptian
How is the Air Up There?