Skip To Content

Bluesfest Review: Blondie

By Terry Steeves on July 14, 2014

For me, Blondie was the Madonna of the seventies…a sort of wild child Marilyn Monroe sporting a bad ass attitude, which was as present on stage as it was in her vocals. The band was formed by singer Deborah Harry and guitarist Chris Stein in 1974, changing their name from “Angel and the Snake” to “Blondie” the following year. Her music has taken us on a ride of punk, pop, rock, reggae, disco, and even rap, of which “Rapture” (Auto American – 1980) has been attributed as being the first of its genre to top the charts, and the first rap video to ever be shown on MTV.  I got to see one of my earliest female musical heroes…for the first time.

The show began with shouts and thunderous applause at her very entrance onto the stage. She was joined by her 5-piece band, and opened with the well-known pop/rock favorite, “One Way Or Another”, a track from their most successful album to date, Parallel Lines (1978). Out of the 5 in the current band line-up, 2 are original members, Chris Stein (guitarist), and Clem Burke (drums/bkg vox). The band is rounded out by bassist Leigh Foxx (1997-present), keyboardist Matt Katz-Bohen (2008-present), and guitarist, Tommy Kessler (2010-present).

Other songs performed from the same album were “Hanging On The Telephone”, and their #1 worldwide hit, “Heart Of Glass”. She also performed 5 songs from her newly released CD, Ghosts Of Download (Blondie 4(0) Forever – 2014), which features a second compilation CD of classic Blondie favorites.

I took an immediate liking to, “Mile High”…a lively tempoed song off the new CD featuring her classic falsetto (which is still very much intact), and its new age flavour the band has always been known for. Other favorites included her 1980 mega hit, “Call Me”, released originally as a single and was featured as the main theme song of the movie, American Gigolo. I loved when she removed her white rimmed sunglasses, revealing that lovely face, and took a step back to see and feel the love from the massive crowd.

She flashed a wonderful smile and then said, “Do ya want some more?“ After hefty cheers of approval, they delved into the much loved, “Maria”, from their 1999 album, No Exit. At 69 years of age, Deborah Harry not only demonstrated she could hit every note with ease, but she sounded even better than ever. This was clearly evident in her performance of “Rapture”, a unique song which displays falsetto vocals mixed with rap lyrics. It’s infectious, disco rhythm made this a dance club staple throughout the late seventies and the early part of the eighties…hands down my absolute favorite Blondie tune.

Another wonderful day under the sunny sky at Bluesfest, enjoying two of the best acts of the festival, each headed by performers born in the same year. It was tremendously nostalgic, thoroughly enjoyed, and completely inspirational.