Blondie + Mustang @ O2 Apollo, Manchester – 11 November 2017

Posted by Gig Junkies on Saturday Nov 11, 2017 Under New Wave, Pop-Punk, Punk, Rock

Review by Nic Jones with photography by Jason Broadhurst.

The stalls of the O2 Apollo in Manchester are full to the brim. It’s Saturday night, and the city is out in force. Blondie are in town, and they have commanded quite the crowd, along with their support act, French band Mustang.

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It’s an undeniably older crowd, only serving to immediately prove the longevity of Blondie’s appeal. Many people in the audience tonight were there when Blondie broke onto the music scene, and they are here again, years later, still loyal and keen to hear that music and some new tracks by this iconic band.

Support act Mustang play a breezy upbeat set to start the night. Whilst the lyrics may be in French, the melodies are catchy, making their general sound is not too far away from that of The Madness. They provide a good warm up for the main event; quirky, professional and they do more than enough to leave a smile on people’s faces.

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Throughout the set, the general hum of chatter and anticipation show that whilst this crowd appreciates strong melodies and good music, they are here for the main act.

They soon get what they are waiting for. Storming the stage, kicking off with punk-pop anthem ‘One Way or Another’, Blondie start their set high-tempo, and the pace rarely falters throughout the night. The crowd are instantly there with them, belting out the words to all the hits. The wide grins on people’s faces show it’s a real joy to hear these classic songs again, to dance and celebrate the artistry of them.

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Debbie Harry has always been an original. She radiates ‘one of a kind’. Standing hand on hip, challenging the room with a tonne of fiery attitude, Harry owns the stage and the crowd love her for it. Still despite this, the lasting memory she leaves is that she is great fun. She laughs and smiles with the crowd and band, this is a woman who still loves what she does, or at least it seems like it! Her voice is still a powerful force, and it rings out high above the music throughout anthems like ‘Call Me’. She makes it hard to forget that she is one of the original rock icons. She still holds that presence on stage.

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The highlight of the night has to be ‘Atomic’. Easily one of Blondie’s best known songs, the audience owns this one, and the band delight in hearing it sung back to them. It’s a joyous moment, that taps into the simplicity of knowing a song for so long, and being able to sing it back, along with hundreds of others, to the band who created it.

Blondie have not just resigned themselves to the hits though. Several new songs from new album ‘Pollinator’ feature, and their performance provides more than enough motivation to check the new material. And that’s what the band themselves want: the opportunity to showcase their new songs whilst still delighting fans with their favourites.

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Blondie may have been around since the seventies, but there’s nothing old about this live show. They are practiced professionals at putting on a show, but they are also masters at reinventing themselves and they can still surprise. Bursting into a verse from ‘(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!)’, they show that they know that the Blondie experience is not just about a polished live performance, but about letting loose and enjoying yourself. And that’s exactly what the Apollo did tonight.

For more images from tonight’s gig visit our Flickr page.


Setlist:
One Way or Another
Hanging on the Telephone (The Nerves cover)
Fun
Call Me
Gravity
Rapture
(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!) (Beastie Boys cover)
Fragments (an Unkindness cover)
Maria
Picture This
Too Much
Long Time
Atomic
Heart of Glass

Encore:
Fade Away and Radiate
Union City Blue
Dreaming

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