San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Boy George brings glam culture to Club the City

Boy George, ´80s musician and cultural icon, played at Club the City in Zapote in southeastern San José on Saturday, in his first concert ever in Costa Rica.

In flamboyant Boy George style, the 47-year-old artist wore a red hat and black jacket and pants set with jeweled appliqués of beetles, and, of course, swaths of turquoise eye shadow.

The band played a compact 10-song set, followed by a seven-song encore. They hit the Culture Club staples “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?” and “Karma Chameleon,” along with a few covers, including David Bowie´s “Suffragette City.”

“Drag queens are our suffragettes,” Boy George said after the song, before dedicating the next ballad to them, half murmuring to himself, “We fall in love with boys with cheap tattoos and pretty eyes,” seemingly unaware of the audience´s command of English.

But the modest but lively crowd impressed Boy George with their hearty sing-a-longs to a number of the tracks as the night went on.

The noticeably low turnout likely had to do with the concert´s tickets costing up from 35,000 colones (over $60).

For his part, Boy George deftly played the audience with little moves such as pretending to reapply face powder, wiggling his backside or giving the microphone a coy lick.

The band also played the song Boy George has recorded for U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama, entitled “Yes We Can,” which will be released on Oct. 12. “This song is for anyone who wants to see a black man in the White House,” said Boy George. “It would be good for anyone who´s different, like me.”

Afterward, Juan Manuel protested, “He didn´t play his best song!” referring to “The Crying Game,” George´s Pet Shop Boys-produced song for the 1992 movie of the same name. Juan Manuel, 23, and his friend María José, 29, both from San José, conceded, however, that such a song might have been a little heavy for the otherwise upbeat night.

Stylistically, many of the songs had more of a reggae and others a country feel to them. But for most, the artistry wasn´t the focus so much as the artist himself.

“I´ve loved him for 23 years,” said Wilbert Benedict, 34, of San José. “For me, the era doesn´t matter: It´s all about him.”

Other concert-goers, when relaying what they found compelling about the artist, cited everything from Boy George´s originality, voice, nostalgia, style and the sense of liberty he represents to them all.

“These people have been waiting for 20 years to see him live,” said María José. “This was a dream come true for them.”

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