9.5
Our overall verdict "Excellent"

Belinda Carlisle, pop goddess and lead singer of one of the most successful bands of the 1980s, female or otherwise,  played a solo gig at Cleveland’s Trinity Cathedral on Tuesday, April 5th.

Trinity Cathedral, in its second season of rock and pop concerts, is quickly becoming the go-to venue in Northeast Ohio.  Their choice of acts, which has included luminaries such as Howard Jones, Mary Chapin-Carpenter, and Bruce Hornsby to name a few have all been highlighted by the wonderful acoustics and fantastic lighting designs of the 100-year old church on Euclid Avenue.  Who woulda thunk an old stone church could look so beautiful lit up with purple and blue floods?

Taking the stage in a simple black frock and her hair pulled back in a ponytail, Ms. Carlisle dug into her catalog of hits, many of them from the years she fronted The Go-Go’s.  She mixed in several of her solo hits as well, including “Circle In The Sand,” “Heaven Is A Place On Earth” and “Mad About You.”  The crowd went wild when she tore into “Vacation” and “Our Lips Are Sealed.”

For a woman pushing sixty years old (57 to be more accurate), she sounded fantastic.  Her voice was healthy and full of punch.  Sitting to the right of the stage was an electric tea kettle; an assistant was pouring bottled water into the kettle so a fresh cup of hot tea was within reach of the songstress at any given moment, a far cry from the early days of The Go-Go’s and their legendary all-nighter benders.  I smiled when I saw the tea; I suppose it’s a testament that we all grow a little older and the remedies of our parents and grandparents soon become our own.



She played a good part of her third solo album, Runaway Horses, released in late 1989 and, while not a chart topper, seemed to be a favorite of hers.  Six of the show’s nineteen efforts were from that album.

As the Gold Seating section quickly became a pit in front of the stage and her faithfuls were dancing and singing right along with Ms. Carlisle, she capped the night with two encores; the last song being, of course, a cover of The Carpenters’ “Superstar.”

Keep an eye on Trinity and their promoting partner, Beachwood-based The Elevation Group.  Joe Jackson is headlining at the cathedral this summer and The Elevation Group has inked a deal to open up two new venues in Akron next month. They’ve already landed Billy Corrigan’s Smashing Pumpkins and Gavin Degraw; let’s see what other acts they can bring to NEO this year.