Dead Or Alive did two concerts in 1987 for their Rip It Up release. Last night I watched an intercut of the two performances. While the video quality was grade Z, the video itself proved extremely educational. Here is what I learned:
- Pete Burns is like a combination of Freddie Mercury and Ivan Doroschuk. He’s got Freddie’s glee of staging himself and Ivan’s complete inability to stand still when singing. He also has the same tendency that both Freddie and Ivan have to let go and just start flailing in glee. Like Freddie, like Ivan, like Lesley, like Shirley, like Michael, he doesn’t so much sing as much as he emanates an irresistible combination of music, power, and joy. I will always find the tension between controlled performance and irrepressible musical abandon incredibly hot.
- There is, however, such a thing as too much Pete Burns. The camera spent way too much time on him and not nearly enough on the other band members. It’s not a solo show, people! Where’s Steve Coy [drummer]?!
- I figured out why Pete Burns’ hair is like that — all the better for whipping around during instrumentals.
- Good backup makes or breaks a concert. I’m talking, of course, about the several guys in sparkly jockstraps who were pretty much doing high-intensity aerobics for a full hour while getting manhandled by Pete Burns [hah!]. I remain irritated that I saw a lot more of them than, you know, 75% of the actual band, but I have to admit that they matched Pete Burns rather well in terms of energy and amount of sheer fun they were having.
- Concerts where people onstage take off their pants are infinitely more entertaining than the same performers on stage avec pantalons.
- If you’re really good, not to mention a little tired from all the singing and dancing, you can take off your pants during an instrumental, turn your ass to the audience, bend over, and stay like that for a few minutes. The crowd’ll go wild.
- Dead Or Alive’s lyrics and melodies are just…mediocre. Generic like hotel room upholstery. As exciting as water at room temperature. Abysmally unexceptional without the visuals. The aggressively homoerotic scene dressing works mightily to compensate. “Sure, we sound like vanilla pudding, but take a look at those guns!” Sometimes it succeeds.
- It’s a pity that the amazing vanilla has become linguistically synonymous in English with boringness, but that’s another entry…