by Daina Darzin
The Hollywood Reporter, October 30th, 1995
IRVINE MEADOWS--This was Oingo Boingo's very last show ever (yeah, that's what they all say) and the perennial Los Angeles cult favorites went out in a properly spectacular way, with an exuberant set that lasted well over three hours.
The amphitheater stage was festooned with huge Day of the Dead-like skeleton figures. A full horn section and a constantly changing cast of band members (some dressed like court jesters) took turns backing front man (and hugely successful Batman soundtrack composer) Danny Elfman, whose hyper, delighted energy, plus shorts, t-shirt and bare feet, made hin come off like a little kid, moustache notwithstanding.
"We don't want to get all weepy over this, we just wanna celebrate," Elfman insisted, and the audience responded in kind. THe more-or-less sold-out crowd ranged from children and dogs to fully costumed goth fans, but was heaviest on yuppies happy for an excuse to jump up and down, drink beer and wear fluotescent, lit-up doodads around their heads.
The huge screen overhead switched back and forth between live action from the stage, computer graphics and strange old movies ("No One Lives Forever" was punctuated by a cheesily gruesome circus flick where a trapeze artist gets munched by lions.)
Oingo Boingo specializes in music that's manic, bouncy, and vaguely ominous, a sonic Halloween party. The band drew from every period of its 17-year career. Standouts included the happily frenzied "Capitalism," the almost speed-metal-velocity "Not My Slave," and the aptly titled "Sweat."
"We stopped at the same time on that one," Elfman exclaimed after "Hey." "If we ever stopped together for every song, it would trigger Armageddon," he deadpanned. "That's why we make these little mistakes, we're looking out for your own good."
A cover of the Beatles' "I Am the Walrus" fit in nicely with Boingo's other critter-titled tunes, "Insects," "Reptiles" and "Piggy." "We're going to go a little bohemian for the next 20 minutes," Elfman announced before the marginally slower section of the set, which included "Close Our Eyes" (complete with accordion) and the madly swirling "Change" (accompanied, appropriately, by a madly swirling giant mirror ball.)
By the time the band got to their hit, "Dead Man's Party," the audience was literally dancing in the aistles. And that was before the multiple encores.
"A big...thanks to those who've been with a short while, to those who have been with us for more than a decade," Elfman announced sincerely. "And for anyone who's been with us for 17 years - you're insane."