Cyndi Lauper proves that girls still wanna have fun!

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Photo: Cassandra Kerwin

On July 13, the iconic, distinctive and ever-youthful singer Cyndi Lauper gave a concert dedicated to women.

Cyndi Lauper, the iconic American pop rock singer who rose to fame in the 1980s, attracted a huge crowd on July 13 on the Plains of Abraham as part of the Festival d’Été de Québec (FEQ). Fans sang her hits along with her, including “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” and “Time After Time.” The girls’ party was well underway before Lauper took the stage, topping off an evening of concerts showcasing female artists.   

Lauper immediately got the crowd singing and dancing to her hits. The moment she stepped onto the stage, wearing a colourful comic-print outfit, everyone sang along to “Drove All Night,” including young fans who grew up with her hits on the radio, and older adults who have followed her for over 40 years. 

Lauper belied her 65 years as she sang and danced all over the stage. Near the beginning of the show, she lay on her back kicking her legs in the air, on a giant travel chest. Moments later, she was lying flat on her stomach, face up, on the stage, all while barely missing a note within her distinctive four-octave singing range. 

“It is amazing to be in a show that is all women acts playing. In the ‘80s and in the ‘90s, I wanted to do a show with women. And they always said to me, ‘Nah. Women can’t draw [a crowd],’” said Lauper. “I ask you to look around. I always wanted to do a festival and to be part of a women’s show.”  

Lauper is an activist for LGBT rights and often promotes feminist causes and women in the arts. Her song “Shine” has become an anthem for an underground population; at the time it came out, in 2001, coming out as gay or transgender could still cost a person their job in many U.S. states.  She told the Quebec City crowd about her experience at an anti-Donald Trump protest march: “I marched with sisters, husbands, wives, daughters. I saw these signs, ‘Girls Just Want to Have Fun.’ Sing it loud and sing it proud,” she said. “In diversity there is strength.” She closed with “True Colors.”

“I’ve always loved Quebec City,” said Lauper. “I could never stay long enough. Thanks for having me and my band. I could never play festivals [earlier in my career]. My manager at the time said that we could never have sound checks, which is not true; you just have to get up early enough. I’m here now, better late than never.”

Lauper’s debut album, She’s So Unusual, was the first album by a woman to chart four top-five hits on the Billboard Hot 100. She continued on her wave of success with the soundtrack to the cult classic film The Goonies and her second album, True Colors, in 1986. Today, Lauper has nine studio albums and 47 awards, including two Grammys, 21 Billboard Awards and one Tony. She has sold over 50 million albums and 20 million singles. 
 
Fans young and old, men and women, cheered and sang with Cyndi Lauper as she performed “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” “Time After Time” and “True Colors.” 
(Photo by Cassandra Kerwin)