Cyndi Lauper Plays to the "Nice North Americans"

Posted by Jenny Good on July 5, 2010 12:35 PM

That's what the New York native called her sold out audience at Metropolis last night in Montreal. You might wonder what the pop princess of the 80's is doing at a Jazz festival...  but you still turn up to see the show, as 3000 people did.  Cyndi Lauper entered the stage in a leopard skin silk pajama number, with very big hair to tell us she was there to sing The Blues.  She has a new Blues album out this year Memphis Blues which she sampled for us as well as covering a few of the greats including: B.B. King, Albert King and "some guy from Arkansas" who's name she forgot.  She had all the elements of Blues: the band, the songs, the titles, the credible collaborators, the outfit, the moves... but not the pain.  Although Lauper has a great voice that at times was really soaring, she just was not quite convincing as having the blues.  She sounded great though, she has a lot of spunk and flair. But she's just so top of her pop game its hard to breakthrough to a classic and quite different genre that's built on so many years of history.  Perhaps girls that just want to have fun are not suited to also be girls who just want to have pain. Although Cyndi did often mention that Blues are ultimately about breaking through to uplifting, they first have to get down to that deep down sorrow. She really did well though, considering she has such a high candy floss voice, she really brought the soul as best she could. And the crowd ate it up and encouraged her despite the few yell outs for 'Time After Time'.

And she did get around to that in her 3 contrived encores. She told us that Blues had been the basis for "every song she'd ever done"... and that Blues was "The Holy Grail". She played 'Who Let the Rain in?', a song she said she never played enough but was inspired by the rain actually pouring in through a sunroof. Then she pulled out he big guns with 'Girls Just Want to Have Fun' which she performed with her opener Dawn Tyler Watson, but it took a much jazzier turn than the original. It had the lyrics of the song, but not the melody, and finished with a major ooh-off with Watson.  Cyndi played all her biggest pop hits in the encore but with a Blues/Jazz flair. She's learned how to play the slide guitar which she says she likes because no one can tell if you've made a mistake. She used it on her last two greats: 'Time After Time' which she said no one wanted her to make so reminded us to always stick to our guns, and final song 'True Colors' which brought tears to eyes.  And before she exited stage left Cyndi Lauper raised her fist and shouted "power to the people".

Festival International de Jazz de Montreal has been a pretty incredible atmosphere all around. Beyond the music and the venues, there is a spirit about  the place that lives on its own.  There are saxophonists by the pool and down below the major stages are adorned with Jazz and Jazz lovers alike.  Every single stage is packed, at all times, all days. That is pretty impressive not to mention rare. We've been to festivals where earlier bands have played to 3 people, including Jess and I.  The other unique and wonderful things we've noticed are: despite the fact that there are crowds above the million mark, we have only seen a handful of police; and the other very french and classy characteristic of many of the venues is the table seating - nice touch.  We've been amazed also at the diversity of the definition of Jazz and all the many things you can do with it.  The classic traditional roots dominate the stages but there is room for many modern and experimental touches that incorporate other genres into Jazz. Like the harmonica-infused, Dylanesque folk of Colin Moore and the pop, electro and tribal elements we have experienced so far.  There have been quite a few pop songs turned Jazz - from Brittany Spears to the late Michael Jackson. But the greats always steal the show - how many of these can you name in the comments? There is a great debate on who is 2nd row on the right...

To see more photos of this event click HERE!

Jenn and Jess a Montreal       

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Categories: Blog Entry , Music and Concerts