Blondie, headed up by Debbie Harry, appeared on a double bill with The New Cars, opening for them at the Wolf Trap Filene Center in Vienna, Virginia, on Tuesday, June 6, 2006. It was a perfect evening to enjoy two of the `70's hottest bands that emerged from the punk and new wave era.
The band assembled first and launched into "Call Me" with Harry strolling out to make her stage appearance before a standing ovation. The group's slick sound was empowered by Burke's flamboyant percussion. The venue was still filling up with concertphiles while Harry parked herself behind the mike stand.
The infectious drive of "Dreaming" showcased the band's ability to energize the audience with a hit aged beyond that of a quarter century. Blondie covered "More Than This", a mellow rock ballad originally recorded by Roxy Music. "Good Boys" was the lone number played live from their latest studio effort, which motivated Harry to move about on stage.
Their 1981 smash single, "The Tide Is High", was mostly a musical let down as the band meandered directionless through a pseudo-reggae band-jam. But, this fact didn't deter those female fans present from standing and swaying to the syncopation, lifting the chorus with their voices.
The quirky pop-rock of "Rifle Range" was embellished by a funked bass line, which segued into a hard-edged lead guitar jam. Harry's animated vocals influenced her aggressive stage moves. Chimes signaled the intro for "Rapture", a bona fide crowd-pleaser. Harry delivered two rap passages, earning a s standing ovation. The band infused a brief blues-based jam before Harry returned to reprise the chorus with a modern rap ad lib.
With an intense guitar ignition, "One Way Or Another" rocked the venue, getting the crowd up on their feet. During the impassioned chorus, Harry stroked Stein's guitar strings. An extended band-jam and percussion crescendo left the audience demanding more.
That evening's numerological sequence was 6-6-6, and Harry made mention of this demonic date before singing "Paint It, Black" as the first of two encores. The harmony chorus was spiked by a subtle percussive bridge with a strong closing coda.
The evening ended with a superb take on "Heart Of Glass". During the extended melodic band-jam, Harry quipped, "Cruise on mother f*ckers, cruise on". Harry exited the stage as the band thrashed about, climaxing with a twist on the "Born To Be Wild" riff.
The reunited Blondie released The Curse of Blondie in 2003, their eighth studio album. The returning members are Deborah Harry on vocals, Clem Burke on drums, Jim Destri on keyboards, Chris Stein on guitar. Blondie recently celebrated its induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Class of 2006.
Many fans were still buzzing about Blondie's previous visit to D.C. and how intense that former performance was. Comparably, the appearance in Vienna was no where near as rad. Even though Blondie's setlist showcased a decent review of their better numbers, Ms. Harry's subdued sense of self and lack of projecting any external excitement tempered the overall audience response level.
Vienna setlist: Call Me * Dreaming * Hanging On The Telephone * Atomic * More Than This * Good Boys * Maria * The Tide Is High * Picture This * Rifle Range * In The Flesh * Rapture * One Way Or Another * Encore: Paint It, Black * Heart Of Glass
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6-6-6 with that Blonde chick
Blondie pounds out a catalogue of its hits
by Timothy Tilghman