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News & Star - 18th July 2007

HEART OF GLASS

Blondie, Sands Centre, Carlisle, last night

“IF ONLY I look that good when I’m 62.”

“If only my missus looks that good when she’s 62.”

Even more than the music, Carlisle’s audience was blown away by how hot Blondie singer Debbie Harry still looks. 

Dressed in a black and white striped fitted dress, sheer black shrug and Converse trainers, still with her trademark bleach blonde hair – cropped short – she looked as striking as ever; the epitome of New York cool. Will Lily Allen look that good at 62? 

Formed in 1975, Blondie were pioneers of the American New Wave punk music scene. Even though they were thousands of miles from their home, they found a room full of friends in Carlisle. That’s because Blondie are the soundtrack to (at least) a generation of music lovers. 

From opening tracks such as The Tide Is High and Union City Blue, Carlisle wasn’t afraid to show their love for Debbie and the band – original members Chris Stein (guitar/bass), Clem Burke (drums/percusssion) and Jimmy Destri (keyboards) and Leigh Foxx (bass, joined 1997) and new members Paul Carbonara (guitar) and Kevin Patric (keyboards). 

Unlike The Rolling Stones, Blondie have kept their dignity intact. Why’s that? First off, their electronica/guitar sound was way ahead of its time. Having split in 1982 the band took time out only to reform in 1998. In that time Blondie’s reputation only grew, continuing to influence female singer-songwriters, such as Gwen Stefani. New material, such as 1999’s Maria and 2003’s Good Boys showed they could still write pop disco. 

It’s difficult to think of another pop band who have had so many memorable hits. Pop chart toppers that have stood the test of time. Think of them: Denis, Call Me, Hanging on the Telephone, Sunday Girl, Heart of Glass... All sing-along classics, to which Carlisle wooped, yelled “Hurry up! Hurry up!” and a very heartfelt “I’ve got a crush on you”. And a whole load of “Woah!” and “Oh...oh...oh!”

Two covers showed what a class act they are: (Seventies New York contemporaries) Television’s See No Evil and The Beatles Please Please Me. Two songs which obviously influence Blondie’s sound. 

It meant a lot that Debbie and the band enjoyed their time in Carlisle – “a beautiful city” said Debbie. And Lemon Lounge got a big thank you – watch their bookings shoot through the roof. 

It still hardly seems real that Blondie – BLONDIE! – were playing in Carlisle. This was no half-hearted, money-making come-back tour. Last night’s gig showed they’ve still got it and they still care. 

KATE REES

Link: News & Star - 18th July 2007


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