They did all 16 dances--in the aisles as well as on stage--at the Universal Amphitheatre Thursday as the B-52's brought their endlessly silly but infinitely lovable show to town in support of their latest album, "Good Stuff."
Though the flavor of a B-52's show has changed little since the band's beginnings 15 years ago in Athens, Ga., its dynamics have shifted perceptibly. Founding member Cindy Wilson quit the group last year at the height of its popularity--"Love Shack"--and has been replaced for the tour by baleful "Twin Peaks" chanteuse Julee Cruise.
For the Record
Los Angeles Times Friday October 30, 1992 Home Edition Calendar Part F Page 8 Column 4 Entertainment Desk 1 inches; 30 words Type of Material: Correction
Wrong lyric--A lyric sung by the B-52's last week at the Universal Amphitheatre was misquoted in a concert review Saturday. The group sang, "It wasn't a rock, it was Dan Quayle's brain," not "Dan Quayle's grave."
The focus is now almost exclusively on vocalists Kate Pierson and Fred Schneider (the other remaining founder, Keith Strickland, played his guitar ably if somewhat anonymously from the recesses of the stage, in front of a backing band). Cruise played her part gamely, donning a huge bouffant wig, plastering on an equally big smile, and running through a stream of wacky dances. But her role is much more limited than Wilson's--she soloed only on one line of "Channel Z" and a bit of "Love Shack."
Schneider took the spotlight most of the time, camping it up earnestly before a "Lost in Space"-meets-"Gidget Goes Hawaiian" set that complemented a crisp "Planet Claire" and a contemporized "Rock Lobster" ("It wasn't a rock / It was Dan Quayle's grave!") particularly well.
The silly approached the sublime both times Pierson moved front and center, for the patently pretty "Roam" and "Revolution Earth." Even at its most serious, however, the B-52's are never entirely so: During "Roam," four men dressed as giant condoms clapped along at the side of the stage, throwing handfuls of the real things into the audience.
Milwaukee's Violent Femmes, who opened the show, have lost some of the frustrated-young-man rage that fueled the trio's best material. Nonetheless, the wide-ranging live show emphasized just how deeply the group's talent has at times cut, from the xylophone-driven "Gone Daddy Gone" to a still-furious "Add It Up."