This week I stepped back in time and looked into the future at one and the same time with the unstoppable Blondie!
Can it really be nearly THIRTY THREE years since I first saw them? Well I have the ticket still to prove it... and it cost me £2.50 to be 6 rows back from the stage.As you can see I saw them twice in 1978 as they went from Plastic Letters to Parallel Lines then I took a break from them - for 25 years.
Their last show at Shepherds Bush doesn't linger in the mind apart from singing Happy Birthday to Clem Burke but after their Blondiefication of WE THREE KINGS last Christmas and good reports of their new material Owen and I decided a trip to see them at the indigO2 was in order.Against a massive backdrop of signature b&w parallel lines with their name picked out in alternate stripes, Chris and Clem appeared with their new keyboardist, guitarist and bassist - they work their way through so many of these they are probably called "Hey you" by the three founding members - and of course Herself.
It was odd to look at her and think "That's Debbie Harry" one of the greatest pop icons ever - the Diva whose Bardot-like gob and all-knowing eyes were plastered all over my bedroom back in the day, the cool cartoon blonde bombshell to the icy hauteur of Siouxsie, the anarchic avant-garde of Patti and the upper sixth performing arts style of Kate.
It has been a source of some discomfort down the years that Debbie has aligned herself with the former First Ladies of Pop who snipe at Madonna who has always praised Deb as an inspiration. But then Debbie seems to always bring the drama, be it with Patti Smith or the ex-members of Blondie. Still credit where it's due, she is a pussycat next to that moaning cow Joni Mitchell. And she's still hypnotic despite herself! As usual Debbie was dressed very individually - a tight-fitting blouse over an A-line mid-calf skirt of black taffeta and net (which put me in mind of something you might see at a 1950s mafia christening) offset by some colourful chains and belts around her waist.
After opening with a new song D-DAY Debbie slurred "Hi, it's Blondie calling" before they smashed into HANGING ON THE TELEPHONE, one of my all-time favorites. They kept me bouncing in my seat when they followed it up with the other Jack Lee song from Parallel Lines WILL ANYTHING HAPPEN. Je squeal!They then alternated between new and old songs - they gave us THE HARDEST PART (which I never cared for!), ATOMIC, RAPTURE, CALL ME, THE TIDE IS HIGH, MARIA and ONE WAY OR ANOTHER.
The good news is that the group have found their inner Blondie again - all the new songs sounded fine with a couple that were real standouts and have me squirming till the cd is allegedly released in September, in particular I really liked LOVE DOESN'T FRIGHTEN, THE END, WHAT I HEARD and MOTHER.The encore included of all things a cover version of Taio Cruz' BREAK YOUR HEART - yeah as if I knew, I did a lyric search when I got back home! - which I guess was interesting but when you have a wealth of hits etc. etc.
Normal service was resumed with blistering versions of PICTURE THIS and of course the disco glory of HEART OF GLASS with extended "Oooowooo woe-hos" at the end which gave me more time to watch my drumming god Clem pulverise his kit with mighty runs across the drums to keep the momentum going. It was 1978 all over again.
Hopefully there will be a follow-up tour when the album PANIC OF GIRLS is released in September. Go on Deb... you know you want to!