August 23, 2019
Gas Monkey Live
Review by David Simers
Photos by Lewis Leveridge
Berlin Rocks Gas Monkey Live On 40th Anniversary Tour!
When you reach your 40th anniversary of being a band, you celebrate by releasing a new record and going on tour, and Berlin, formed in 1979 in Los Angeles, did just that. The new lineup was joined by two co-founders and released Transcendence, their eighth studio album, on August 2. They began a tour with the B-52s and scheduled some individual dates when a member of the other group got sick. Luckily, Gas Monkey Live was able to get one of the open dates and fans were treated to a show more than twice the length of their co-headliner gigs.
The night began with Nite, a Dallas-based trio that pumped up the crowd with a 13-song set of solid music and lyrics. Then, the headliners came out and rocked 17 songs to a loyal crowd that came together with only two days notice. For an impromptu performance, the loyal followers came out and supported their favorite band.
The musicians walked onstage to one of their early videos playing on the screen behind them. Terri Nunn, dressed in black and still as beautiful as ever, danced as she sang “The Bitch Is Back” with a mischievous grin and immediately showed the fans they were in for a night of fun. Nunn was still in tremendous voice as the band played “No More Words” as their infamous Bonnie and Clyde-style video played. The crowd, many of whom were not yet born when this song came out in 1984, sang and danced along and then roared when the singer announced this was their 40th anniversary.
Chris Olivas on drums and Dave Schulz on keys led the synthesizer-sound on “Metro” as guitarist Carlton Bost added a scintillating riff to everyone's delight. Stating the next tune was about her son joining the military, Nunn marched in place to the poignant lyrics and rhythmic beat of “Like Flames” as a tribute to him.
Ms. Nunn, who once auditioned for the part of Princess Leia in Star Wars, spoke easily about the revenge song “Now It's My Turn” and how the fans demanded it be put back in the setlist. Original guitarist David Diamond added harmony and he and guitarist Carlton Bost complemented each other well during dual solos. Fans mobbed around her for a selfie as she climbed on a security guard's shoulders and he walked through the crowd as she sang “She Sells Sanctuary” with its driving beat.
The new album, Transcendence, brought original band members back together and they played a cut from it, “I Want You.” With a sly smile, Nunn spoke about the well-written song being about her sexuality today, or in her terms, “I just want to get laid!” The fans kept cheering for “Animal,” as she seductively swayed on stage to the song she wrote about sex in her 40s and the two guitar slingers and bassist, original member John Crawford, formed a three-man front to back up the alluring chanteuse.
Continuing to reach into her past with a song about sex in her 20s, the pounding beat of “Touch” showed her vocal range as Schulz displayed a tremendous deftness on the keyboard. A mash-up of “Fall/Rumor Of Love” flowed easily and led into “Show Me Tonight,” a song about getting rid of negative thoughts and accepting natural changes in your body. Exuding an innate sexuality, Nunn charmed the audience as she danced and captured everyone's attention.
Security brought people up on stage for “Dancing In Berlin” and the enthusiastic fans jostled for position to get close to the band and take pictures of them. Trying to get them off the stage was slow, but Nunn handled it perfectly as she began singing “Take My Breath Away” with an a cappella intro. She then donned a cowboy hat and got back on the guard's shoulders to finish their biggest hit by singing on the floor surrounded by adoring fans.
The crowd roared for “Sex (I'm A...)” as the duet with Crawford was backed by Diamond's fluid strokes. They thanked the audience and left, but was soon brought back by screaming fans for an encore. Nunn spoke of her father's struggles with drinking and dedicated “On My Knees” to him as this was his birthday. The heartfelt lyrics ended and she reached her hands toward the Heavens in a gesture of love.
Displaying an amazing stage presence came easily to the beautiful singer and she seemed to honestly be touched by the crowd's reaction of love and energy. She twirled to the driving beat of “Masquerade” as people on the floor cleared a space and danced along with her. The effervescent former model finished the extended set with her favorite “religious song” of all time as she boomed out AC/DC's “Highway To Hell” with her powerful vocal range. She stayed true to the song, yet made it her own at the same time. The band soaked up the love from the audience and knew they had given it back during their performance. They bowed and left to raucous cheers as they headed to the merchandise table to sign autographs and take pictures.
Tremendous energy, love of performing and pure talent made this a memorable concert. The give and take with fans increased throughout the night and raised the energy level in the venue. The band's personality shined through, led by the commanding stage presence of Terri Nunn. She genuinely enjoyed the limelight and it showed.
Catch them as they continue their tour throughout the summer and fall and pick up a copy of their new album. Special thanks to the staff of Gas Monkey Live for their help.