If you were looking to catch a quality freak show this Halloween, you could have looked no further than the Roseland in midtown Manhattan, where the B-52's played a rare New York show in front of a so

If you were looking to catch a quality freak show this Halloween, you could have looked no further than the Roseland in midtown Manhattan, where the B-52's played a rare New York show in front of a sold-out crowd glammed up to the max in a strange parade of holiday regalia.

With the band's Astralwerks debut "Funplex," poised for a February release, it's interesting to ponder the drastic changes in the music biz since the B-52's' most recent album, 1992's "Good Stuff."

But for the packed crowd of aging hipsters and their spawn at the Roseland, it was 1989 all over again, as the newly rejuvenated B-52's proved to be in fine form, unleashing a time capsule of hits and a smattering of new material with the energy of a group half its age.

The new stuff, which is promised to fall somewhere between the punky dance-surf style of their early days and the propulsive electro-velocity of the evening's opening act the Rapture (who, dressed as the Ghostbusters, damn near blew the 52's off the stage), was decent, particularly songs like "Pump", "Ultraviolet" and the "Cosmic Thing"-esque "Juliet of the Spirits."

Certainly it got those anticipating some new B-52's something to look forward to, but let's just see how it sounds in the studio. Of course, what everyone came out to hear the band perform were the classics, which they delivered in spades, driving through such favorites as "Party Out of Bounds," "Mesopotamia," "Planet Claire" and "Rock Lobster."

Much respect must go out to chief songwriter Keith Strickland, the silent force behind the extroverted interplay of Cindy Wilson, Kate Pierson and Fred Schneider. He really blew more than a few minds with his excellent guitar playing this Halloween night, particularly when they broke out "Private Idaho" and the deep "Cosmic" cut "Channel Z."

If that's what is to be expected on "Funplex," expect many old fans to jump on line more than once for the ride.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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