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venuszine - 12th November 2007

Blondie ambition

Deborah Harry’s tide still high at New York performance
By Katy Henriksen
Published: November 12th, 2007 | 9:00am

November 8, 2007, at New York’s Filmore at Irving Plaza — At 63, Deborah Harry is still as sassy as ever. Her voice can still move from growl to wail in an instant, and she’s still shaking a groove as she sings. Even if her voice had given out, watching her perform would still be worth it, if only to see her iconic lips do their magic work. 

Nearly three decades after her appearance in the sci-fi cult classic Videodrome, in which a close screenshot of those lips play an integral part, Harry continues to use them to convey sex appeal, punk rock rawness, and cabaret theatrics at once.

The $50 ticket price didn’t deter Harry’s fans from experiencing her stage prowess. Though the crowd didn’t look like what it did in the CBGB days, it was clear that Harry speaks to generations. The audience was a combination of twentysomethings and middle-aged folks sporting corduroy pants and oval glasses.

Dressed in a black mini-skirt, black stiletto booties, a tight black top with holey fish-net arms, and a black mirror-sequined crocheted hat, Harry entered the stage to little fanfare yet opened to wild applause with her 1993 single “I Can See Clearly.” Including the encore, she performed 18 songs and managed to sing at least one song from each of her five solo albums, including her latest release, Necessary Evil.

A collaborative album with the likes of the production duo Super Buddha (Scissor Sisters, Rufus Wainright), members of the Jazz Passengers and the Toilet Boys, Evil is a slick release that jumps from dance-floor numbers to pop ballads. 

Harry invited a few friends to contribute to her performances, including Nomi, a New York R&B rapper, who acted as MC on the trip-hop groove “Heat of the Moment.” Toward the middle of the set, Harry went acoustic and played versions of “Tide is High” and “Heart of Glass.” These numbers became more like sing-a-longs than anything else, with the crowd shouting the well-known choruses. 

Rather than tire, Harry’s performance only grew more powerful as the songs went on, especially when she performed “Rush Rush,” a single from her 1988 album Once More Into the Bleach. A pulsing, slower torchy song, her lips curled up at the edges and her eyes rolled seductively. She continued the momentum with “What is Love,” “White Out,” and “You’re Too Hot,” which closed the set out with Harry repeating over and over, “Don’t touch me, don’t touch me,” eventually building to a yell, her body swaying back and forth.

“It’s been a great night,” she exclaimed to the adoring audience before exiting the stage before returning for the encore, “Charm Alarm,” performed with Miss Guy from Toilet Boys. Harry danced with Miss Guy and lyrically sing-rapped reminiscent of her Blondie days. A clubbing anthem, it was a grand way to round out the night.

Perhaps Harry isn’t the cutting-edge pop-punk chanteuse of yesterday, but it would be strange if she was. That’s not the reason to go see Ms. Harry in action. To watch her unparalleled lips and dance along to her many anthems recorded throughout the years is not to be missed. She’s a legend. After all, without her we wouldn’t have many of today’s female rockers. And you can only wish that you might possibly be able to rock out like she does when you’ve lived for more than half a century.

Link: venuszine - 12th November 2007


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