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The Day - November 12, 1995

This article has been typed by Sven Papperitz and Tracy Guilbeau.

This article is about the Ledyard (Foxwoods) concert (Nov 10, 1995).


Cyndi Lauper at Foxwoods: She still knows how to have fun
by Kristina Dorsey

So, people ask, how has Cyndi Lauper changed ? Lauper, who was the darling of the 1980's music scene, showed that the changes have all been for the better when she gave a strong, often impassioned performance Friday at Foxwoods Resort Casino's Fox Theatre as part of a three-night stand.

When Lauper burst onto the music scene in 1984 with She's So Unusual, she was just that - unusual. While her voice was a force to be reckoned with, it was everything else about her that people latched onto - the multi-colored tresses, the outfits that looked like thrift shop rejects, the Brooklyn accent that could shatter glass and just about every other substance known to man. The image ended up obscuring the public's view of the singer.

Things are different now, and so is Lauper. Her sense of humor and spirited stage persona are still there, but the over-the-top kookiness is gone. Lauper no longer exaggerates her accent. The Betty Boop singing style has all but vanished. At Foxwoods Friday, she sported a simple white shirt, close-fitting black pants, and sensible black flats. (Her get-up for her encore proved a little flashier, thanks to a ruffled pink tuxedo shirt.) Sure, her hair was egg-yolk yellow, but her make-up was elegantly sophisticated.

What was most important was that her voice sounded better than ever. It was capable of being powerful in a hard-rocking song and then moving easily in a hushed ballad.

When most people remember you for hits you had and the way you were a decade ago, it's got to be difficult to balance the need to "grow artistically", as performers are fond of phrasing it, with the need not alienete your old audience.

Lauper managed that neat trick by giving the crowd that packed the Fox Theatre the hits they remembered - only better. She performed a couple of fairly straight-forward recreations. But she experimented with most of them, some more subtly (Time After Time, which was given an acoustic treatment and a more meditative pace) and some more radically (the inspired combination of her breakthrough hit and signature song, Girls Just Want To Have Fun, with bits of Redbone's "Come And Get Your Love" and a funky reggae beat).

What Lauper hasn't altered, thankfully, is the intensity and drama with which she invests her performances. She danced across the stage with zealous abandon during rollicking numbers like Change Of Heart and Money Changes Everything. For the delicate True Colors, accompanied by a violin, she sat on the edge of the stage, gazing upwards as if lost in a reverie, and sang with heartfelt emotion.

Since Lauper released a greatest hits package this year - Twelve Deadly Cyns ... And Then Some - a fan might have expected her to kick off the show with one of her classics. Instead, she began with several less familiar songs, each with a repetitive sound that could be hypnotic or tiresome, depending on your point of view. None was a show stopper.

The first hit she played (the fifth song in the show) was She Bop, the bouncy dancetune that she recast in a wistful mold. While it sounded lovely and mellow, there was something comical about hearing her soulfully singing lyrics like, "I bop/You bop/A-they bop...".

Overall, the music was dynamic, with an edge. Backed with a talented six-person band, Lauper roared through a set that ranged from the danceable That's What I Think to the lilting All Through The Night to the effective reworking of the Marving Gaye classic, What's Going On.

There did, however, appear to be some technical difficulties.

Lauper was often fiddling with her ear piece. She periodically motioned to someone offstage to change the sound mix, apparently asking for the volume for certain instruments to be turned up.

All this fussing proved distracting, even if her desire for everything to be right was understandable.

Besides, from the audience member's perspective, hearing more of Lauper's voice would have been the best option.

Indeed, one person bellowed, "We're mad about you, Cyndi !" in reference to her Emmi-winning performances as Ira's ex-wife on the NBC sitcom "Mad About You".

When a fan yelled out, "We love you, Cyndi", Lauper replied, "I love you too, altough I don't know you personally."

Lauper's patter, though, wasn't too extensive. Singing is clearly how this girl still has fun.

Cyndi Lauper performs at 8:00 tonight at the Fox theater.

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