Las Vegas ‘Tumbles For’ Boy George & Culture Club at Encore Theater

Pop sensations performed night two of a three night stand at Wynn

Boy George & Culture Club took the stage at the Encore Theater on the Las Vegas on Saturday night (Feb 18th) for the second of a three night stand. Emerging from beneath the stage just after 8:30, George was adorned in trademark hat and a geometrically-patterned jacket, his iconic makeup and beard instantly recognizable.

Culture Club bassist Mikey Craig and Roy Hay were all smiles as they flanked their frontman. Musically, the group was tight and full-sounding. This is thanks in part to the double drummers at the back of the stage, and a wall of three backing singers who each featured throughout the night. Plus, a saxophonist added an extra layer of texture to the live sound.

Culture Club emerged from the subculture of the “New Romantic” scene in the United Kingdom’s nightclubs. They went mainstream by blending elements of club music with many other genres. The breadth of those genres were on full display at the Encore.

From the soulful “Hold Back,” the groovy “I’ll Tumble For Ya,” and the Reggae-inspired “Eyeliner Voodoo,” the crowd went on the journey with Boy George and Co. There were stripped-down moments too, such as “Move Away” and “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me.” Those moments were the most resounding: the juxtaposition of Boy George’s outlandish party image with heartfelt lyrics engrossed the crowd.

Boy George would deliver an insightful preamble before each number, like a flamboyant sensei preaching to his flock. Indeed, each interaction with the crowd was a blend of camp and earnestness because that’s just who Boy George is.

His expression of himself is not a put-on. That’s the whole point. At one moment on this night, during “Eyeliner Voodoo,” he pulled a young child wearing a Boy George-esque sparkly short—on stage to groove with him. He gave the youngster all his attention while not missing a note.

Of course, the Encore is famously the most intimate headliner room in Vegas. Acts as diverse as Beyoncé, Sara MacLachlan, and Garth Brooks have all felt a certain closeness to their crowd not found anywhere else. The furthest seat is only 75 feet from the stage footlights. On this night, 1,800 people got a rare chance to look Boy George in his mascara-lined eyes.

Each number was accompanied by a video. Some had lyrics, but most used imagery to harken back to the club days and the LGBT roots from which Culture Club sprouted. The band has stayed true to that spirit of acceptance and togetherness Boy George called the night an, “All inclusive party. Feeling left out is just a choice.”

Boy George & Culture Club, which are celebrating the 40th anniversary of their triple Platinum Colour By Numbers album, perform one final show in Vegas on Sunday (Feb 19th) at the Encore Theatre inside Wynn Las Vegas. Tickets are available via Ticketmaster.

Matt Bailey
Matt Bailey

Matt Bailey is podcast producer and writer located in the Northeast. Since 2013, Bailey has produced more than 160 episodes of his own online radio show, Talk For Two. In 2016 alone, he interviewed Kevin Bacon, Crystal Gayle, Bob Barker, and Gilbert Gottfried, among several other stars. As a Correspondent for The Music Universe, his focus is Broadway, country music and concert reviews.