Iconic is a word that gets batted around far too much.
However, in the presence of the wondrous Debbie Harry it’s hard to find a more fitting description as she rocked the Leeds stage with Blondie as part of their 10-date Against The Odds tour.
London, Manchester and Liverpool had already been treated to two hours of anthems and now it was Leeds’ turn - and unsurprisingly, they didn’t disappoint.
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Even before Blondie had taken to the stage, the crowd had Johnny Marr to look forward to as he mixed some of his own songs with classics from The Smiths. It was a whistle stop tour of the hits as he moved from the likes of Panic and This Charming Man to Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want, before ending with There Is A Light That Never Goes Out.
A perfect warm up act and after a short interval, it wasn’t long before the eternally cool and chic Debbie Harry took to the stage, kicking off the show with X Offender before upping the ante and moving into Hanging on the Telephone.
Blondie’s only two ever-presents have been Harry and her ex-lover Chris Stein, with whom she still retains an amazing friendship. Ill-health forced him to miss this tour and he has been replaced by Sex Pistols guitarist Glen Matlock. That switch didn’t affect the rhythm of the band at all though as they seamlessly moved from hit to hit as Sunday Girl, Picture This and Mother followed before Fade Away and Radiate and the reggae-infused classic The Tide Is High. The latter saw the crowd sway in unison and bop their heads along and it wasn’t long until one of the band’s real big hitters - Atomic - was blasted out.
“Uh-huh make me tonight”, sang Harry, who wore a hot pink cami dress with a pink blazer, as she serenades the crowd in a song that proves simplicity can be used to great effect. Before the encore came some more of the band’s well-known songs.
She may be 76 but Harry made singing Rapture look effortless as she impressively rattled off the rap with ease before moving into Maria, Dreaming and Heart of Glass. That last song got everyone on their feet and they ended it with a stroke of genius in mixing with Donna Summer’s I Feel Love.
A four-song encore saw Blondie finish with Call Me and One Way Or Another. It can be easy to forget just how many hits they have and at the end you realise why Blondie are so deserving of their status as punk rock gods. It may have taken a long time for this tour to come around thanks to Covid and lockdowns and Blondie certainly didn’t miss their shot back on the big stage. It was mesmerising, timeless and, undoutedly, iconic.
Hanging on the Telephone
Fade Away and Radiate
The Tide Is High
What I Heard
(I'm Always Touched by Your) Presence, Dear
Union City Blue
Heart of Glass
One Way or Another
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