Blondie, rock'n'roll queen

Review: Debbie Harry in Auckland

TIM GLASGOW
Last updated 15:13 30/11/2012
Blondie
REUTERS

RED HOT: Deborah Harry showed she was still one of rock-n'roll's leading ladies.

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It was the Debbie Harry show at Trusts Stadium last night.

The Blondie singer was in command as she dazzled the Auckland crowd with an eloquent and vibrant performance becoming of one of rock'n'roll's true stars.

A double billing of Harry's band and The Stranglers paired two bands, who were borne out of New York's gritty CBGB new wave scene and the English punk rock scene of the late 70s and 80s respectively.

And while last night's show bore little resemblance of either scene, both bands showed why their legacies have survived the test of time.

The Stranglers' set was powerful and they definitely showed glimpses of the scene they emerged from.

Launching straight into 5 Minutes, the British punkers announced themselves with energy.

The band played a tight set that included crowd favourites Peaches and Always The Sun.

Bassist/singer JJ Burnell's performance was great, their drummer punctuated each of the ska-tinged songs, and Dave Greenfield's distinctive keyboard playing was brilliant.

Singer/guitarist Baz Warne delivered a fantastic version of Golden Brown, which was the highlight.

While it waned in parts, their cover of The Kinks' All Day and All Of The Night and their final song, the despondent anthem No More Heroes, revived their energy.

And then it was time for Blondie to take the stage.

Harry and original guitarist Chris Stein were joined by Clem Burke, Leigh Foxx, Matt Katz-Bohen and Tommy Kessler, who were a strong backing band.

Harry bounded onto stage, sporting a sparkly golden jacket, bright red outfit and that iconic blonde bob.

Opening with Dreaming, she danced, clapped and sang to the crowd, provoking those who were still sitting to get up and dance.

Harry is now 67, but she didn't act like it, she bopped from each side of the stage, while the band rattled off hit after hit, and a few of their new songs. She even did a hula during Tide is High.

Her voice, while obviously aged, still sounded fantastic. She effortlessly belted out Call Me and Hanging on the Telephone.

Rapture was the song that really showcased just how good Harry still is.

She hit all the right notes during the chorus and transitioned effortlessly into her famous rap, and didn't miss a beat - even when the song morphed into the Beastie Boys' Fight For Your Right (To Party).

Their set highlighted the strength of the band's songs even decades after their heyday.

This was apparent when they launched into new-wave classic Atomic, which sounds as exciting as anything produced since it was released in 1979.

Their new songs Love Doesn't Frighten Me and Mother also kept up with their hits, and there was never a lapse in momentum during their performance.

The encore of Heart of Glass, capped off a terrific show by a great band led by one of rock'n'roll's leading ladies.

WHERE: Trusts Stadium, Henderson

WHEN: November 29

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