Saturday, February 24, 2018

Concert review: Berlin in Corona, Calif.

photo: Maurice Wyble
When Berlin neared the end of its sold-out concert in Corona, Calif., Terri Nunn told fans about a recent conversation she’d had with friends about prosperity. 

“I’m so lucky to have you in my life,” said the spirited singer, who always conveys her gratitude toward supporters that have stuck by her for decades. 

The Eighties were a fruitful period for the Southern California synth-pop band - a mainstay in area dance clubs and then-burgeoning alternative rock radio.

Influential Los Angeles station KROQ/106.7 FM was a major supporter thanks to DJ Richard Blade spinning the musicians’ initial singles. Berlin eventually notched a top 30 pop hit in 1984 (“No More Words”) and a Billboard Hot 100 chart topper two years later (“Take My Breath Away”) from the “Top Gun” film soundtrack.

Many diehard fans in their forties and beyond turned up at Club ‘80s Bar & Grill on Friday night to relive that period. Some clutched old Berlin vinyl LPs; others held copies of “World in My Eyes,” a fascinating autobiography by Blade, for signatures and photos (The deejay, Nunn’s boyfriend back in the day, emceed here and provided the pre-show music. He can currently be heard on SiriusXM 1st Wave and locally on the JACK FM Flashback Lunch).

Berlin immediately whipped followers into a frenzy by opening the impressive 70-minute, 15-song set with “No More Words.” As the accompanying music video played on dual screens, Nunn belted out the vocal and guitarist Carlton Bost provided a hard-edged sheen. Two more of the band’s best-known tunes, “The Metro” and “Masquerade,” were also dispatched early to a wild response. 

photo: Maurice Wyble
The latter came off strongly due to Nunn’s glorious delivery, expressive gestures and spinning around. 

“Animal,” the suggestive title track to the band’s solid 2013 studio album, bore a fierce EDM-meets-industrial vibe and proved Nunn retains her raw sexuality. “Pleasure Victim,” from 1982, was given a laid back, almost jazzy arrangement in contrast to the original’s synth-heavy sound.

Nunn announced the exciting news that her Facebook followers have known for awhile: she’s been in the studio working with founding members John Crawford and David Diamond on their first material together in 30+ years. An album is tentatively expected in June.

One of the new songs played, “All for Love,” was sleek, in a pop/soul vein. Nunn sang it while venturing into the audience atop a security guy’s shoulders. Then about a dozen fans were invited onstage for the upbeat new wave free-for-all of “Dancing in Berlin.”

There were howls of excitement for “Take My Breath Away,” where Nunn gave a dramatic delivery and shook fans’ hands. “Sex (I’m A)” was intense as ever; the singer also handled a fun take on AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell” ("this is my favorite religious song of all time," she joked) surprisingly well.

For the encore, Nunn and the three-piece band added even more grit to a hard driving, dance-oriented cover of “Somebody to Love,” the 1967 Jefferson Airplane hit via The Great Society (also found on the “Animal” album). 

Berlin returns to Club '80s tonight.
photo: Maurice Wyble

Upcoming shows: 
March 17 - Ft. Lauderdale, FL - Celebrity '80s Cruise
April 6 - Alpine, CA - Viejas Casino Resort
April 8 - Phoenix, AZ - Phoenix Pride Festival
April 12 - Chicago, IL - City Winery
April 13 - Nashville, TN - Topgolf Music
April 14 - Ft. Worth, TX - Trinity River Distillery
April 27-28 - Fullerton, CA - Totally '80s Bar & Grill
May 18-19 - Montclair, CA - That '80s Bar
July 7 - Agoura Hills, CA - The Canyon
July 27 - Los Angeles, CA - Microsoft Theater ('80s Weekend #6)
Aug. 5 - Atlanta, GA - Chastain Park Amphitheatre 

Thanks to Maurice Wyble for the photos.


Natalie 1026 said...

She was great last night! Hope to see her again April 27th. Richard Blade was fantastic too!

newwavegeo said...

Hi Natalie,
I definitely agree. Having Richard there elevated the whole evening.
He's the best.