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Blondie, Arena Birmingham – review and pictures

expressandstar.com – 14th November 2017

By Rebecca Stanley – Birmingham Entertainment

Following the release of their eleventh studio album Pollinator, American rock icons Blondie brought their explosive live show to Arena Birmingham last night.

Since I was a youngster I have held the strong belief that Debbie Harry is one of, if not the, coolest person on Earth. Strutting onto the stage in white trousers and shirt, a white cape with “stop f****** the planet” emblazoned upon it and sparkling black sunglasses – this belief was proved.

Storming straight into smash hit One Way Or Another, Debbie had the audience hooked on her powerful vocals and body language that oozed charisma at all moments.

“Thank you all for coming Birmingham, it’s great to be here! It’s dropped very cold.” Debbie joked, to laughter from the crowd.

The strong message on the vocalist’s jacket and imagery of insects across the stage’s backdrop showcased a cause close to the band’s heart – Blondie are on a mission to save the bees; thus their latest album’s title Pollinator.

This seemed to be something the crowd were aware of, as one audience member threw a bee-inspired Christmas ornament onto the stage for Debbie to catch.

New tracks from Pollinator such as Fun, Gravity, Long Time and Too Much showcased the band’s experimentation with electronic music, while still remaining true to their rocking roots.

The set spanned the entirety of Blondie’s glittering career, from Maria to Rapture, Call Me to Picture This – all executed with the same passion that the band have always held dear.

Debbie’s crystal clear vocals were carried by precise and perfect instrumentals. Chris Stein and Tom Kessler provided mind-blowing and technical guitar solos, with Clem Burke’s drum beats and Leigh Foxx’s bass lines providing the heart beat to every song.

Matt Katz-Bohen brought new life to old classics with his keyboard interludes – to the delight of the crowd dancing and singing along.

Blondie even tried their hands at other artists’ songs, performing rousing covers of The Nerves’ Telephone, Beastie Boys’ Fight For Your Right and Unkindness’ Fragments.

As the band ended their set on huge singles Atomic and Heart Of Glass, the crowd roared for an encore – and an encore they got, packed full of tracks from the band’s past.

“We’re going to take a trip down memory lane,” Debbie announced, and a trip the audience took as they were treated to performances of Fade Away and Radiate, Union City Blue and Dreaming.

“Keep dreaming Birmingham, and keep making your own decisions. We are free, and dreaming is free,” Debbie announced as she was bathed in soft orange lighting and flashing gold strobes.

Breathtaking from start to finish, Blondie put on a show to remember with tracks old and new, all as passionate and perfectly played as ever.


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