Despite the cooling temperatures outdoors, inside the Arlington was as sultry as a New York summer as fans crowded in to see Cyndi Lauper perform. On tour for her latest release, Detour, the spirited singer hooked the audience at the start with the rollicking “Funnel of Love” and then reeled us in with the delightfully mischievous “She Bop,” her chart-topping third single from her 1983 award-winning She’s So Unusual.
In addition to having the vocal pipes of a rock/pop siren, Lauper is a gifted storyteller; in her distinct Queens accent, she regaled concertgoers with charming tales of her life and origins of the tunes she performed that evening. For example, the impetus for Detour, she said, came from her desire to represent a time period of music when “rockabilly turned into rock and roll.” She talked of her childhood when she and her siblings would reenact shows from TV such as The Lone Ranger and Roy Rogers, and how she at first rejected the song “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” because it was written by a man.
The rest of her set saw Lauper trot out songs from albums Detour, Memphis Blues, A Night to Remember, and, of course, She’s So Unusual. A particularly memorable moment came during “Money Changes Everything” when Lauper stopped the show to chastise a security guard who wouldn’t let a patron dance. “We’re not allowed to dance?” she asked incredulously. “I’m breaking my ass, and [the audience is] sitting in a chair. Where are we? A Mormon [hall]?” At that, folks rushed the stage or stood up in their seats, finally being allowed to participate in the high-energy show Lauper was giving.
Lauper treated fans to a two-encore set that included her biggest hits, “Time After Time” and “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.” Before the last song of the night, the poignant “True Colors,” the icon encouraged folks to vote, reminding everyone that “there are a lot of civil-rights issues coming up” in this election, and to the ladies she said, “It’s the first time in history we can vote for one of us.” At the Arlington that night, Cyndi Lauper’s true colors were definitely shining through, and that’s why we love her.