They just don’t make ‘em like they used to’. Some would argue this saying to be true, some otherwise. As Debbie Harry, sixty six and quite brilliantly unlike any other frontwoman I’ve ever seen, takes to the stage, I’d be inclined to agree with the adage.

A vision in turquoise, Harry, backed by contemporaries including Clem Burke and Chris Stein, as well as fresh new faces Matt Katz Bohen and Tommy Kessler, launches into the anthemic opening bars of ‘Union City Blue’. From the off, the audience are enraptured, none more noticeably than during classic new wave tracks such as ‘Sunday Girl’, as Harry saunters around stage, dripping with devil-may-care punk attitude.

"You distracted me," she smirks, blaming the audience as she misses a beat, "But you distracted me in a nice way, so it’s ok." Herein lies a huge chunk of Blondie’s appeal – rather than becoming jaded or disillusioned, bored with the Rock ‘n’ Roll dream like so many others before them, they still seem to be taking pleasure in travelling the world, playing great music, and it shines through in their easy rapport with the crowd.

Perhaps part of the secret of Harry’s evident engagement with the audience is the fact that this tour marks her first opportunity to debut material from Blondie’s new album, 'Panic of Girls'. The sentence "Here’s one from our new album" would induce groans at most gigs, but when said material is as brilliant and fresh as ‘Mother’, the only response from the audience is one of eagerness.

Harry’s voice has assumed somewhat of a husky, jazzy tenor over the years, a new tone which lends classics such as ‘Hanging on the Telephone’ a more mature, contemporary sound, and manages to completely reinvent songs that most of the audience have heard a hundred times over.

Debatably the highlight of the set arrives in the form of the glorious ‘Rapture’, the song which propelled rap music into the mainstream, and sounds just as relevant today as it did upon its release. From one hip hop classic to another, we’re treated to a slightly bemusing, but definitely brilliant rendition of the Beastie Boys' seminal ‘Fight For Your Right to Party’, which, after provoking some confusion in the audience as they struggle to recognise the opening beat, produces one of the best responses of the night.

That said, it’s pretty hard to top the number which closes the evening. A sold-out Olympia theatre erupts with cheers as synthesisers blaze into life to provide the iconic opening of ‘Heart of Glass’, Harry’s smoky, low voice perfectly complementing her backing instrumentation. As the evening draws to a close, the band disappearing into the wings one by one, Harry lags behind for a minute thanking the crowd, and meaning it. Forty years after chasing her dream to New York City, Debbie Harry still seems to be revelling in the successes she and the band have achieved. Here’s to many more years for Blondie (and to many more fantastic gigs like the one we’ve just had the pleasure to witness).











Related Links:


http://www.blondie.net/
https://twitter.com/BlondieOfficial
https://www.facebook.com/Blondie/
https://www.instagram.com/blondieofficial/
https://www.youtube.com/user/BlondieVEVO


Commenting On: Olympia Theatre, Dublin, 19/7/2011 - Blondie








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