BELINDA CARLISLE in concert Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at the Triadtheater. Also appearing was PRIVATE EYE. One performance only.
To Belinda Carlisle, heaven may be a place on earth. But heaven certainly isn't in Salt Lake City.An embarrassingly small crowd - maybe 1,000 if you exaggerate - turned out at the Triad Center Tuesday night to welcome one of America's hottest pop stars. And the fan response was lukewarm at best.
That doesn't mean that those who went didn't have a good time. Belinda put on a fine show, twirling and whirling her way around the stage. She sounded great, even departing from her honey-smooth pop voice long enough to cut loose on a couple of lung-busting solos.
But to sum up the performance in a word, it was "nice." It wasn't spectacular. It certainly wasn't memorable. It was just nice (which is kind of like saying your girlfriend is "kind of good looking").
Just why Belinda didn't draw better is anyone's guess.
To put the dismal showing in perspective, Erasure (a rather obscure band without a No. 1 album or a chart-topping hit to their credit) pulled in 13,000 fans about week ago at ParkWest. Belinda Carlisle, who is fresh off a Top 10 album with three big, big singles, pulls in 1,000.
Does attendance mean Erasure is 13 times better than Belinda? I'd take Belinda any day.
One suggestion might be that Belinda Carlisle is more a creation of Hollywood publicists than she an actual pop phenomenon taking America by storm. She's more a blip on an ever-changing pop music scene.
Sure she's good. She she can churn out hit songs with seeming ease. And she has a great set of pipes. She's a 1988 version of Stevie Nicks, which is meant as a compliment.
But her overall appeal is rather shallow. You enjoy her songs when you hear them, but you don't remember them. You enjoy watching her in concert or on MTV, but the impression isn't lasting.
To borrow a cliche (why not, Belinda's songs are collections of cliches) maybe she's more blow than show, more spark than fire, more style than substance.
To her credit, she really did try to make something of the concert Tuesday night. She worked hard to get the crowd involved, dancing around the stage and seducing the crowd with her throaty vocals. But there was no electricity to the show. If she's got the beat, Salt Lakers sure didn't dance to it.
Those having the most fun were the army of 8- to 10-year-old Belinda look alikes who knew every word to every song on every album. The younger the fan, the more fanatical.
In fact, most of the crowd was probably age 15 or under. Which is ironic considering Belinda has been carefully cultivating an image as a musician for the over-25 crowd. Most of those over 25 at this particular show were parents bringing their kids too young to drive.