Blondie - Rockness - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab

Blondie - Rockness

by Louise Harlow Rating: Release Date:

I'm hella nervous. Shouldn't be - I've been here before. But that was two summers ago at Latitude, when Dirty Harry and her man minions were playing under canvas and my buddy was conducting an irate vox pop of the surrounding crowd to establish why Grinderman had been handed the main stage closing set, relegating Blondie to a woefully undersized tent.

But that was then and this is now - the rain has stopped, the sky has cleared and this time I am within spitting distance of the two tone follicle wonder. Dressed in a bizarre disco pall-bearer get-up and bedecked in a platinum wig, the grand dame of punk is nevertheless resplendent and clearly still in possession of an impressive set of lungs. Looking slightly more peaky was her right hand man, Chris Stein, which is understandable given the serious illness he has in the past been plagued by, and largely irrelevant when he still clearly has the dexterity to put complex riffs to bed, no bother.

Although they nobly resist defaulting with a 'classic' set opener, the band don't seem to hit their stride until mid-way through 'Maria', the song that first seared Debby Deb onto my pre-pubescent brain during another Friday night fish'n'chips and TOTP teatime ritual. Harry seems to be having herself a grand time as they then breeze through 'Hangin' on the Telephone' and 'One Way or Another', and although the set probably doesn't crackle with the same kinetic energy as their early CBGBs showings, she still knows how to group-flirt 30 thousand people simultaneously, purring with a knowing smile "Hello? This is Blondie calling..."

'Atomic' causes a field-based mass karaoke knees-up, even if it does fall short of really taking the flame to the torch-paper of the crowd.... but this is 6pm and still four acts short of the closing headliner, and you get the feeling that being only too aware of the what is yet to come, many are treating the set as a pacing exercise. This would have never been the case if we were talking Blondie circa 1979, but the woman my pa always affectionately termed 'slut of the year' has proved that none the less, being the wrong side of 60 is no biggie when you're the disco punk titan that is Debbie Harry.

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