A NIGHT OF CHOICES
Ricky Martin and The Psychedelic Furs collide in Houston: Who will win thenight?
Go ahead. Spend your holiday weekend "Livin' La Vida Loca" with Ricky Martin on Saturday night at the Toyota Center. I ain't gonna hate on ya'.
For some, seeing the chiseled pop tart who played an integral part in inviting Latin beats to the long-sequestered United States dance party a little more than a decade ago is the ideal way to party on a long weekend. I however, will be feeling Pretty In Pink at the more intimate Warehouse Live with alt-rock darlings, The Psychedelic Furs.
The beauty is that there is no wrong answer here and I won't try to sway you one way or another. Ideally, if I could clone myself, I would take in both shows.
While Martin's music is a little more vapid, his modern cultural influence, on several fronts, cannot be denied. In 1999 his self-titled English crossover album was that rare "right sound, by the right artist at the right moment" zeitgeist that spurred former Menudo member Martin to a success in the U.S. that no one could have foreseen. On the strength of singles like "Livin' La Vida Loca," "She's All I Ever Had," and "Shake Your Bon-Bon," Martin became an international sensation and the album went on to sell 20 million copies.
Of course, fame like that comes with a price. The biggest question: How do you follow that up?
The answer: Not very successfully. Martin did score the hit "She Bangs" in 2000, but after that Martin's most valuable contributions have been as a humanitarian, rescuing young girls from the streets of Calcutta and in the fight against human trafficking.
Combined with his long-overdue coming out last year (Truthfully, was there anybody who believed that a man that stunningly pretty was not gay?), Martin has been more of a cultural ambassador in recent years which makes this performance stop in Houston a return to what made him famous in the first place. Now 39 years-old and a father, with nothing to hide, it's possible he is poised to be more of a change maker than ever, regardless of if new album, Musica + Alma + Sexo is a chart success.
The Psychedelic Furs have no such cultural cache. The most important thing the corrugated voice of lead singer Richard Butler did in the 1980s was help make Molly Ringwald a star and the teen movies of filmmaker John Hughes vital to the "Me Generation" experience.
It doesn't sound like much, but hearing The Psychedelic Furs croak out hits like "Love My Way," "Pretty In Pink," and "Heaven" one more time is like looking through the pages of my high school yearbook.
It's cheesy and nostalgic ... and I wouldn't miss it for the world.
Ricky Martin, 8 p.m. Saturday at Toyota Center
or The Psychedelic Furs, 9 p.m. Saturday at Warehouse Live
Tickets:Ricky Martin - $40.50-$130.50
The Psychedelic Furs - $25.00