25th November, 2010

Blondie and The Pretenders hit Perth
By: Maria Noakes
Image: Deborah Harry commands the stage at her Kings Park gig by Theo Fakos
From: PerthNow November 25, 2010

Two incredible bands and two iconic front women created history last night in Perth.


The double billing of Blondie and the Pretenders was a world first and the 6000 people that bought tickets to the Kings Park concert lapped-up the exciting atmosphere and even better music.


Kicking off their tour in Perth, the co-headlining bands fronted by the iconic Deborah Harry (Blondie) and Chrissie Hynde (Pretenders) were both founded in the 1970s and went on to become legends of the music industry.


Last night was the beginning of the women's national tour.


First to the stage were the Pretenders. Hynde looked every bit the rock star as she emerged in jeans, boots and a denim jacket.


"It's great to be back in Perth, I told you'd we'd back," Hynde said as she clutched her sparkling gold guitar.


Flanked by Eric Heywood on pedal steel guitar, James Walbourne on guitar, Nick Wilson on bass, and original Pretender Martin Chambers on drums, Hynde launched into the set.


The 59-year-old rocker commanded the stage and audience's attention as she and her band cranked out hit after hit including Talk Of The Town, from their 1981 album Pretenders II and the smash Don't Get Me Wrong from 1986's Get Close. More recent offerings such as Boots of Chinese Plastic and Love's a Mystery from the band's 2008 album Break Up The Concrete also struck a chord with the crowd.


When Hynde wasn't strumming her guitar or doing air kicks, she shimmied across the stage and swung her hips to the delight of the crowd. The gutsy frontwoman's voice sounded as good as ever as she belted out Back on the Chain Gang and Night in My Veins from behind her familiar mop of dark hair. When she finally left the stage the audience demanded more.


Reappearing, Hydne treated the raucous crowd to two more songs - the ever popular Brass in Pocket, a song which reached number one in the UK and number 14 in the US, followed by the timely Happy Christmas.


The show wasn't over, after a quick reshuffle of the stage rock icon Blondie aka Deborah Harry appeared triumphantly. Harry looked amazing in a white tutu, white jacket, white wig and sparkling wayfarer sunglasses. It was quite an entrance and the audience went absolutely wild and as she walked on stage.


Launching into D Day, her voice was strong and the band's set was hard, fast and packed a punch.


"Hello, is this Perth?," Harry asked. "Well this is Blondie calling."


The next hour and a half went like a blur, every moment was captivating. From Hanging on the Telephoe (from 1978's Parallel Lines) to The Hardest Part (from 1979's Eat to the Beat) and Maria, Blondie like Hynde commanded the stage and interacted with the fans dancing in front of her.


"Thank you all for coming out tonight. I think I'm still on New York time but that's ok," Harry said.


The 1980s rap inspired Rapture was a crowd pleaser as was the reggae inspired Tide is High.


She ended her dynamic set with smash hits Call Me and One Way or Another which had many of the audience on their feet dancing.


Blondie's encore wrapped-up with the Heart of Glass, a song that reached number on in the UK and the US in the late 1970s.


Blondie emerged from the late 70s New York punk scene and quickly became an icon of music, style and pop culture selling more than 40 million albums.


Heart of Glass was Blondie's first US and was an indication of the 14 Top Ten US hits to come.


Last night was an absolutely magical evening and one that Blondie and Pretenders fans won't forget in a hurry.


Blondie and the Pretenders. Tonight, Kings Park. Gates open 4.30pm.

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