This time last year, gays with a penchant for anthemic ’80s girl pop (i.e. most of us) were aflutter at news that Belinda Carlisle — erstwhile Go-Go’s frontwoman and purveyor of gold-plated pop in a solo career spanning 25 years — would tour the country at the same time as Mardi Gras.
Surely a party or parade appearance wasn’t out of the question?
Sadly, nothing came of it. But now, Carlisle’s back touring the country at the same time of year — and will even play in Sydney on the night of Mardi Gras. The tease.
“I was approached to do something this time around, but I didn’t want to commit because of my tour schedule and my voice is fragile at the moment because I’ve been ill,” she told the Star Observer down the line from her adopted home of France.
“But if I’m there and they happen to have Summer Rain and want me to get up there and mime, I might just do it!”
This writer attended one of Carlisle’s 2011 Australian shows and can confirm it’s just about the best fun you can have with your clothes on. Audience members drunk on musical nostalgia (and Bacardi Breezers) threw caution to the wind and belted out hits like Heaven Is A Place On Earth, Leave a Light On and In Too Deep almost as loudly as Carlisle herself.
“That’s the best part about doing shows — it’s an energy exchange and an amazing experience,” she said. “A lot of the songs really transcend and have soundtracked moments in people’s lives. To be able to see that in people’s faces while I’m singing is an amazing thing.”
This time, she’s changing the setlist, adding older fan favourites alongside an infectious new song called Sun (check it out below).
Could this hint at a musical comeback for an artist who hasn’t recorded an album of original material in more than 15 years?
“I’ve been approached many times with the offer of doing another pop album, but the industry has changed so much and I’m toying with how to release music again,” she admitted.
“And melodically, I have to love any song I sing, but especially at my age, it also has to be lyrically appropriate. I don’t really feel comfortable singing ‘I love you, you love me’ kinds of things. That’s just silly.”
This more mature perspective on life arrived seven years ago, when Carlisle finally found sobriety after a lifetime of drug and alcohol abuse.
Reading her scintillating tell-all memoir Lips Unsealed, one gets the sense that Carlisle wasn’t really ‘present’ through the golden years of her career.
“[Getting sober] made me the best person I can possibly be — and 99 percent of the changes I’ve made I can’t even verbalise, because I can’t explain them. It’s so rewarding it’s scary.
“I have to say, I was lucky that someone up there was looking out for me through my career, because it could’ve been really fuckin’ bad.”
INFO: Belinda Carlisle performs in VIC, NSW and QLD from February 24 – March 17. Tour dates at www.lionelmidfordpublicity.com