Maybe the title of Ranking Roger's new album--"Radical Departure"--is meant to be ironic.
If you were told that the LP was the latest from his previous band, General Public, or even that it included some unreleased stuff by his band before that, the English Beat, you wouldn't have much trouble believing it.
The same applies to the live side, but lack of innovation aside, things went pretty well Monday at Bogart's in Long Beach, where the lean, animated Englishman kicked off his "Radical Departure" tour (hey, if you come up with a good misnomer, stick with it). If Roger and his band were having opening-night jitters, they were probably quickly calmed by the audience's immediate and enthusiastic response.
Although most of the audience probably hadn't heard the solo songs before--Roger's LP was released that day--the dance-floor crowd was bopping feverishly to the opening "Your Problems" and other new tunes as if they were familiar faves.