The Go-Go’s Say Goodbye to the Road in the Place Where It Began
38 years after and not far from where they first played together in Hollywood’s punk-rock clubs, The Go-Go’s ended their final concert tour. They’ve broken up and reunited numerous times over nearly four decades, and so they’re not saying they’ll never work with each other again. But they’re all hovering around the age of 60 now, so it seemed like as good a time as any to hit the road together and finally make the Farewell Tour they originally announced in 2010.
Paul and I are both long-time fans of the Go-Go’s, but neither of us had seen them play live. When we bought tickets to the Los Angeles show, we didn’t realize that it would literally be the end of the road for the band. Once we knew that, we felt especially privileged that we could be there.
The lineup for this month-long tour included four of the five original Go-Go’s: lead singer Belinda Carlisle, Charlotte Caffey on guitar and keyboard, Jane Wiedlin on rhythm guitar, and drummer Gina Schock. (Bassist Abby Travis stepped in for Kathy Valentine, who “divorced” the rest of the band–or was dumped by them, depending who you ask–in 2013.)
The Last Set List
This is the set list from the final show of the “Going Going Gone” Farewell Tour at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles on Tuesday, August 30:
We Got the Beat at the Greek Theatre
The show was high-energy from beginning to end, and the audience was as into it as the band was. (Watching some of the spectators moving to the music convinced me that a lot of white women of a certain age picked up their dance moves from Belinda Carlisle.) Everyone knew this was happening for the last time, but it was a remarkably unsentimental evening,
The Go-Go’s played their hits, opening the main set with “Vacation” and ending with the back-to-back punch of “Our Lips are Sealed” and “We Got the Beat.” They brought some fans up to stage to dance with them during “Cool Jerk.” They covered songs that Belinda (“Mad About You”) and Jane (“Cool Places”) originally recorded without the band. They played a couple of songs from their punk-rock days that they never recorded. And their second encore–“last tour, last show, last song,” as Jane introduced it–was Paul’s and my favorite of all their songs, “Head Over Heels.”
The Go-Go’s were the first all-female band to top the Billboard album chart playing their own instruments and performing their own songs. Now they’re leaving the stage at the top of their game, still rocking well past the age of AARP eligibility.