In 1990, Gioia Bruno, who had joined the all-girl vocal group Exposé in 1986, suddenly began having throat problems. There was a benign tumor in her vocal cords. The group, whose “Tell Me Why” from its album “What We Don’t Know” had just provided its seventh consecutive Top 10 hit, just behind the Supremes’ nine, cut short its tour and slowed down to give her a chance to recover. Unfortunately, that recovery would not take place for several years.
“When that happened, I said to myself, ‘Well, you’ve got a No. 1 hit and now you can’t sing a lick,’ ” said Bruno, 54, from her home before embarking on the latest leg of Exposé’s current tour. She recovered in 1997, sang with the group Wet, released an album “Expose This,” and rejoined the group shortly after it came back in 2006.
Exposé was listed by Billboard as the eighth most successful girl group of all time. It’s easy to forget how big they were between 1984 and 1993 when they had four Top 10 hits from their first album, most memorably 1988’s “Seasons Change.” They were all over mainstream radio and a continual presence in dance clubs, particularly popular in those catering to a gay clientele.
“We still have a lot of support from the LGBT community. We play a lot of festivals and they have kept us going over the years. We still tour a lot, leading an incredibly exciting life and then returning to being soccer moms or soccer grandmoms.”
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There is some new activity in the works now. A new song, “Shine On,” is ready for download on their website, and another, “Could Have Been,” should be soon. There’s a special three-CD set of previously unreleased but “all new” numbers out from Cherry Red, also available and signed by all three ladies – Ann Curless and Jeanette Jurado being the other two – all vets with Exposé since 1986.
Exposé plays Cache Creek on Saturday, Aug. 26, and Bruno sums up the show as “so many hits, so little time. When we start a song we hear so many people say, ‘They did that, too?’ We do a very long set with a full band and you can’t go anywhere, of course, without the disco lights.” (8 p.m.; $35-$59; cachecreek.com)
It is difficult to imagine a stronger weekend for music than this pre-Labor Day period. Besides Exposé, five major concerts stand out.
Thunder Valley has two of them: Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo (“Promises in the Dark,” “Love Is a Battlefield”) join forces with Toto (“Hold the Line,” “Rosanna”) Friday, Aug. 25, at 7 p.m. ($39.95-$169.95; thundervalleyresort.com). And on Saturday, Aug. 26, Brian Wilson brings one of his “Final Performances of Pet Sounds” to the outdoor venue, joined by Al Jardine, Blondie Chaplin and Felix Cavaliere’s Rascals. (7 p.m.; $49.95-$169.95)
And Reno’s Grand Sierra has the other three, beginning with the debut on Friday, Aug. 25, by Idina Menzel singing a wide songbook, including numbers from her Broadway shows “Rent,” “Wicked” and “IF/THEN” and her huge movie hit “Let It Go” from “Frozen.” If you bring children, be ready for them to be invited on stage to join her for that last one. (8 p.m.; $31-$183; grandsierraresort.com)
Saturday, Aug. 26, finds Steve Martin teamed with Martin Short with tickets strictly limited at this time (9 p.m.; $8-$136) and, the same night, there will be great classic rock with Yes (“Owner of a Broken Heart,” “Roundabout”). (8 p.m.; $36-$158)