Cyndi Lauper, House of Blues, Dallas

Cyndi Lauper proved last night with her healthy two-hour set that she is willing to work hard for the money. Giving the audience both her blues side and her hits, Lauper satisfied a nicely filled room at the House of Blues. At times, she was wooden and disconnected, but mostly she gave an energetic performance, trotting across the stage and dancing erratically as we’re so used to seeing her do and reminding us that she has some pretty killer chops.

Lauper mentioned that this tour was “all about the blues,” and practically played her entire new album Memphis Blues. Her devoted fans were into her latest foray into this genre and others patiently waited it out. But she delivered the blues with nice abandon. Her voice on the album sometimes mismatched the song, but live, she does recall smoky juke joints in the backwoods South. Minus the cheering of course. With a competent band behind her, her voice traveled all over the spectrum, from beautifully stretched vocal runs to some attempted scatting. Her bluesy highlight would have to have been the ballad “Down So Low.” A slow drawl of a song with, this was her shining moment of the evening.

Which is probably debatable to those waiting to hear her classics. Starting with “Who Let in the Rain,” she smartly moved into the second set without much fanfare. If she had — surprise! — started with “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” or “Money Changes Everything,” I think she would have gained some pandering points. Lauper took her time with both the slow and fast, keeping the audience at her pace. She didn’t feed off the audience’s energy per se. Her “Mother Earth” performance after a few of her hits was kind of a buzzkill, but I kinda dug that she didn’t seem to care about that. Not that she wasn’t aware of her audience, but I liked that her set never felt obvious.

“Girls” was a prolonged epic that filled the room with squeaky yelps from women of all ages and the gay boys. From right to left and back again, she moved across that stage with an energy source that could power a small town. “Girls” and “She Bop” wrapped the audience into a frenzy and her ballads (which did the same) were these elegant gems that were even tear-inducing (who, me?). She finished that way with “True Colors,” instead of, again, an obvious rousing finale. She gave her speech about the origins of the song and then her discussion about equal rights and “keeping your power,” but it was a little long-winded. Appreciated, but long. Yet, when she finally sang  “True Colors,” the audience followed word for word and, almost like a Cokc commercial, everything was in perfect harmony.

More pics from the concert will be posted tomorrow.