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Wild At Heart - Cyndi Lauper turns 57 today - Happy Birthday

Wild Bill Ketelhut provides the "blog" to this anti-blog
He has a radio program on WXOU out of Oakland University

Wild At Heart

Hi everyone, slept in today and now looking for hotels in Chicago for the great road trip to see Eric Clapton's Crossroads Festival. As I was surfing the web, I was reminded that today was my girlfriend's birthday. OK, she is not aware that she is my girlfriend but I know that it is just a matter of time before this beccomes public knowledge and it comes true. Now before the people reading this blog start wondering if they should call the police and report a potential stalker, I will enlighten you that my "girlfriend" is Cyndi Lauper who will be coming to town on July 1st to perform songs from her new blues album "Memphis Blues" at the Motor City Casino. Of course I have my tickets already and I can't wait. This will be the 11th time I have seen Cyndi perform. The first time I was on vacation in Lakeland, Florida with my parents and saw a billboard promoting the show. My loving parents surprised me by buying tickets and I got to see her front row (my parents were about 40 rows back - did I say they were wonderful parents). Eddie Money opened which was unique since we had all these people in jeans and leather jackets listened to him and they all disappeared after he left the stage to be replaced by a bunch of teenyboppers, a lot of which were wearing that paper dress that she had on the "True Colors" album cover. The show was capped off by me bugging this big security guy for a souvenir feather. Cyndi was wearing a skirt that had these feathers around the trim and some fell off. I begged him to get me one and got my official first weird look at a show (which does make me more appreciate when I work security at shows and get seemingly odd requests from fans for stuff - I understand). BTW, I still have that feather on display along with the concert poster (Cyndi as Venus on the half shell) and the tickets.

A few years later I saw Cyndi for the second time in a small club in Poughkeepsie, NY. Luckily I had decided to walk downtown to the local record store and saw that Cyndi was performing that night. Now Poughkeepsie is about 2 1/2 hours away over the mountains from where I was in Oneonta but that didn't matter. I bought my ticket, ran back to campus and found my fellow Cyndi fanatic Stephanie to ask if she wanted to go. She did so we ate dinner really quick, drove down to get her ticket and headed off over the mountains to see my girl. It was a great show with opener See No Evil and again I was in the front row right in front of Cyndi. I managed to get a towel she used on stage to wipe the sweat off her brow (and yes I still have the towel) and then after the show, we tried to get someone to get us backstage to meet Cyndi. That didn't go well as the roadees found the sexiest women to bring back and left us wondering how to meet Cyndi. We walked around and found the tour bus which was ungarded and waited in the snow for an hour until someone walked out the back door headed for the bus. It turned out it was Cyndi by herself coming out. I'm glad I had my friend Steph or I might have been worried she would've turned around. Not sure how many female singers want to see a 6' tall guy waiting outside their bus with no one else around. Anyway, she autographed my copy of the 'True Colors' album I brought and we both got good bye hugs (haven't washed since that day - just kidding) which kept us on cloud 9 all the way back to campus for my favorite Cyndi experience.

It was a number of years before I saw Cyndi again missing both her appearance at Space and opening for Tina Turner until I caught her again when she opened for Cher at the Place Of Auburn Hills. Since then, I have seen her at The Masonic in Toledo, OH, twice at the casino in Orilla, ON (was supposed to interview the second time which fell through when she had a medical issue with her vocal cords), playing with Jill Sobule at the Michigan Theatre in Ann Arbor, Meadowbrook Theatre and twice on the True Colors tour seeing her at Moslon Ampithetre in Toronto the first year and at Pine Knob the second. I tried to interview her both times but got shot down by her manager who doesn't seem to realize I have played more Cyndi Lauper than probably all the DJ's in this state combined. I did get interviews with tourmates the Cliks and the B-52's which is a little consolation. I also got to watch a few songs from back stage at the Pine Knob show which was exhilarating.

My longest trip to see Cyndi was about 10 years ago when I did a road trip to visit some college friends in NY, NJ and Washington DC. I planned the trip to end in Syracuse, NY at the New york State Fair where Cyndi was opening for Meatloaf. Also got a surprise with a performance by the hoochic coochie girl herself, Charo, who was playing that day. Like usual, she played a great show with frequent trips into the stands and climbing the speakers. I don't know where she gets that energy but she has consistantly put on some of the best shows I have seen. I also ran into a sexy girl who was a big fan and it turned out she married my friend Rob from high school. How did he get so lucky? I also like the fact that she reinvents hers songs for the shows. I have heard her perform 6 different versions of "She Bop" ranging from pop, blues and cajun. My favorite live song though had to be at the Toronto show where she did a version of "True Colors" with Andy Bell of Erasure that was pure joy and even brought a tear to my eye. I'm not ashamed to admit that.

Anyway, Cyndi is still my number one. I usually tell people that Cyndi is to me what Elvis was to my mom which is something most people can ralate to. I own all her albums, including imports, and have seen all her films (the best is "The Opportunist" where she plays opposite Christopher Walken) and own lots of collectibles. I have always loved the way she has kept true to herself all these years. One wonders if she wouldn't been bigger than Madonna if she stayed with the big time record companies and not break away to do the DIY thing. She has always walked to the beat of her own drum whether it is doing the Rock and Wrestling thing which most of her fans didn't understand but she enjoyed, producing her own videos with friends and family appearing in them and supporting causes close to her heart. Heck I even watched "Celebrity Apprentice" because of her! Now that's dedication. My only real regrets are not going to NY to see her opposite Alan Cumming in the broadway version of "Three Penny Opera" and not yet getting that interview with Cyndi. The guy at Motor City is fighting for me but it doesn't look good at this point. Fingers are staying crossed.

Anyway, I'll leave you with a couple of songs for your enjoyment. The first is "Above The Clouds" which has stunning guitar work by Jeff Beck who I saw last week and will again at Crossroads and appeared on her "Body Acoustic" CD. The next is from her new album 'Memphis Blues' called "Crossroads" and features vocals by Johnny Lang who will also be in Chicago this weekend.

Cyndi trivia:

1) She was the first female singer to have four top-five singles released from one album.

2) Cyndi was asked by Steven Spielberg to be the musical director for the movie "The Goonies". It was Cyndi's idea to include a newly discovered female group called "The Bangles".

3) Lauper knew she could write songs, but the record company had a lot of material they wanted her to record. She altered a lot of the songs that were thrown her way, often changing the lyrics to suit her. This would end up helping her in the long run financially as she could claim credit as a co-writer and collect royalties.

4) Lauper sang the theme song for the series "Pee-wee's Playhouse" the same year, though she was credited as "Ellen Shaw". Playhouse star Paul Reubens appeared on the True Colors album track "911" as an emergency operator.

5) In 1997, Lauper announced that she was expecting a child. Declyn Wallace Thornton Lauper was born on November 17 of that year. He was named after Elvis Costello (whose first name is Declan) and William Wallace.