My friend Harry invited me to take his friend's place and join him in seeing Sheena Easton perform at B.B. King's, and we wound up having a great, if not totally heck-a-slammin' time.
We had front-section, central VIP seating, so missed nothing of the 90-minute gig, which was generously sprinkled hits (“I embrace my nostalgia!” she exclaimed early on), some of which a casual fan might have forgottne all about. Any student of Sheena Easton 101 knew to expect “9 to 5 (Morning Train)” from 1980, which got the evening's biggest reaction in spite of its near novelty-hit sound, and her smash Bond theme “For Your Eyes Only” from 1981, but I can't have been the only person surprised she is still doing gems like “Telefone (Long Distance Love Affair)” (1983).
Easton—looking very much like a red-headed Kylie Minogue, is still ravishing at 57, so much so that her surprisingly relentless self-deprecation about her age and her lack of hits since the '90s felt a bit like posting a fantastic selfie with the caption, “I look awful, right?” The true answer is she looks great and sounds great (aside from a tendency to over-emote) and has an engaging stand-up comedy banter between songs that made her perhaps a bit too accessible—one fan couldn't resist shouting suggestions to her after every song, eventually earning her ire. Sit down and shut up.
But back to the set list, which along with the previously named hits and some '60s and '70s pop covers (and one Christian song—she connected with Catholicism after four divorces), included the singles “When He Shines (1981), “I Wouldn't Beg for Water (1982), “We've Got Tonight (1983), “Almost Over You (1983), “Strut (1984), “The Lover in Me (1988). Most excitingly, with the help of a talented male duet partner, Easton offered a dynamic melding of “Sugar Walls” (1984)/“U Got the Look” (1987) as a tribute to her ex, Prince.
Joking that she was thinking of hanging up her Spanx and discontinuing the performance of such sexed-up numbers, she revealed she had to do them as an excuse to air the work of the Purple One.