Gig review: Blondie, Glasgow

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ON THE night of her 68th birthday, Debbie Harry looked great in a long, feathered scarf, a sleek bob that was more silver than blonde and a hugging pink dress decorated with a leaf motif. “We’ve been doing a lot of forests,” she explained, seemingly nonplussed.

Blondie - Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow

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Amidst a Blondie show that was more nostalgic repertory than authentic evocation of their past times, Harry remained the shining light, a vivid personality with a voice that’s part sexual growl and part tender flirtation. Oddly, the most vivid evocation of this came during the ever-weak sub-reggae of The Tide is High, where one of the evening’s many instrumental breakdowns culminated in Harry almost yelling “I wanna keep reminding you, I’m not the kind of girl who gives up just like that” as she re-entered the verse. Recently recruited guitarist Tommy Kessler played the all-action, axe-wielding wingman role, while the sunglasses-wearing Chris Stein cut a demure figure in the background. Drummer Clem Burke kept drawing the eye with an oft-repeated throw and catch of the drumstick.

As far as evocations of a band whose best songs remain of their time, despite their frontwoman’s boundless charisma and timeless profile, it was an entertaining show. The hits were rolled out in faithful but sedate fashion – including Hanging on the Telephone, Atomic and the closing Heart of Glass – and all brought deserved excitement to the room; more so, it must be said, than their new material – even the Beth Ditto guest-starring (on record) A Rose By Any Name. Yet not many other bands could wedge a cover of Frankie’s Relax between their own effervescent Call Me and Dreaming and have it make such perfect sense.