Debbie Gibson's stage outfit for her "I Want My '80s" set at The Theater at Madison Square Garden Friday night will remain a showtime decision for what she calls "a fast and furious romp down memory lane for people."
"It's always in the moment that I decide what I'm going to wear," said the Merrick native, calling from a Manhattan salon where she planned to get "diva nails" for the show, which will also feature '80s heroes Tiffany, DMC, Howard Jones and A Flock of Seagulls.
After all, Gibson honors her record-setting past in the '80s, when she strung together a string of top 10 hits including "Only in My Dreams," "Out of the Blue," and "Foolish Beat," which, in 1988, made the then-18-year-old the youngest artist ever to write, perform and produce a No. 1 single. But she has also accomplished much more since then, including a stint on Broadway, starring roles in movies and her ongoing music career.
"Sometimes, I play with that image," said Gibson, known then for her trademark black hat and blonde bangs. "Sometimes, I'll wear like a funkier, updated hat -- something that's just a little bit of a throwback. And other times, I just feel like, 'That was me then. This is me now.' "
It's a choice that mirrors the balance in her life now. While she is excited to receive a lifetime achievement award on Monday from Rockers on Broadway at Le Poisson Rouge, she is also excited to work on her new cable movie that will start filming next year, planning an international tour and promoting her new collaboration with Big Black Delta called "RCVR" (Master of Bates).
That opportunity comes just as a new generation of artists, including Taylor Swift and Carly Rae Jepsen, is discovering and taking inspiration from Gibson's brand of '80s pop.
"People keep saying, 'The '80s are back,' " she said. "But I don't think they ever went away. It's great to hear other people embrace that sound. It made me . . . To a lot of people, it's a fresh sound now."
WHAT "I Want My '80s" featuring Debbie Gibson, Dee Snider, Tiffany, DMC and others
WHEN | WHERE 8 p.m. Friday, The Theater at Madison Square Garden, Manhattan
INFO $50-$130; 800-745-3000, ticketmaster.com