Naked Eyes, ABC, Belinda Carlisle, and the Human League are currently crisscrossing the country on the Regeneration Tour, an oldies-revival trek that thankfully isn’t entirely mired in nostalgia, since all the bands involved are performing more than just rote lists of hits. I caught the Regeneration Tour at the Gibson Amphitheater in Los Angeles a couple weeks ago, and I can say it’s definitely worth the time (three hours!) and money. Lost in the ’80s fans will appreciate the deep set lists that have liberal sprinklings of album cuts and even some new tracks.
For example, Naked Eyes not only played “Promises, Promises,” but also “Fortune and Fame.” ABC ran through a couple songs from their latest, Traffic. The Human League made my night by tearing through stellar renditions of “Seconds,” “The Lebanon,” and more songs I’d never dreamed of hearing live. The nicest surprise of the night, however, was Belinda, who, along with some predictable Go-Go’s numbers, had a sizable sense of humor about her standing as an Adult Contemporary solo artist. For example, before starting one tune, she winked to the audience, “You hear this next song these days in supermarkets and grocery stores everywhere.” Cue “Circle In The Sand.”
Another surprise was Carlisle beginning her set with the anthem “Live Your Life Be Free,” (download) the second single from her 1991 album of the same name. While a decent-sized hit overseas, “Live Your Life Be Free” was a complete and total stiff in the U.S., failing to chart. In fact, Belinda’s fourth album was a complete non-starter Stateside, the first single, “Do You Feel Like I Feel?” stalling out at a feeble #73, a sad showing for an artist whose first three albums featured several Top Ten hits.
A rockier than usual single in Carlisle’s solo career, “Live Your Live Be Free” probably didn’t deserve to flop so hard. Sure, Belinda does her usual Stevie Nicks-sitting-on-a-washer-during-the-spin-cycle vocal performance, but the chorus is soaring and sort of sounds like the type of thing Robbie Williams would record ten years later. However, it was hampered by a video that, while high-gloss and gorgeous, was a complete mismatch for the song.
In another misguided move, a club mix (download) was commissioned, and boy, did it not date well. It’s one of those early ’90s remixes soaked in Manchester “baggy” beats completely at odds with the melody and tone of the song. It’s no big surprise that the remixer is uncredited – who would want to take credit for that?
Carlisle’s solo career never recovered in America, even though she continued to record to success overseas. A few Go-Go’s reunions later, Belinda still puts out the solo stuff here and there, her latest being her love letter to French pop, 2007’s Voila! It’s nice to see “Live Your Life Be Free” still earns a place in her live show, and if the Regeneration Tour hits your town, definitely set aside the night – it’s worth it.
“Live Your Life Be Free” did not chart.
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