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Blondie - O2 Academy, Leicester, 19/8/2014

  by Anthony Strutt

published: 13 / 9 / 2014

Blondie - O2 Academy, Leicester, 19/8/2014


Anthony Strutt watches Blondie on what might be their last tour play an excellent set of both their classic hits and also tracks from their new album 'Ghosts of Download' at the O2 Academy in Leicester

I had never seen Blondie or met the band, and when it was announced that this might be their last tour, and it was at a venue that holds only 1,000 people (which even then didn't sell out), I didn't need an excuse not to go. I was an early Blondie fan, so much that by the time that they released 'Parallel Lines', the 1978 album that made them famous, I was so over them. I never saw them back in the day, and when I did try in 1982 they cancelled 'The Hunter' tour due to lack of interest and then split up. A lot of my regular gig buddies of a certain age refused to go saying, saying that they were not what they were and that it was too expensive. £39.50 for Blondie to me was, however, almost a free gig!. I first fell in love with Blondie via their first two albums, 1976's 'Blondie' and its 1977 follow-up 'Plastic Letters'. Both albums fell under the New Wave genre at the time, but really, come on, listening to them again now they sound so pop it is surprising how they weren't famous from day one. Formed in early 1974, Blondie had the most beautiful girl to front a band ever. She is a girl who I have loved forever, and who had the looks, sex appeal to make you turn to jelly, and was a brilliant lyricist besides. New York failed to take to them initially. Through a tour of Australia with Iggy Pop and then in Britain, they started to make roads to fame. Tonight they don't play what I loved them for, 'Detroit 442', 'Rifle Range', and '11.59', but there are enough hits to please even a casual fan. Blondie, however, are not living on a past trip. Half the material they play is new. Blondie have released four reunion albums since getting back together in 1997, not always successfully. 'No Exit' was a hit when it came out in 1998, an album without direction or style, but their number one single, 'Maria', reminded everyone what they had missed. 2003's 'The Curse of Blondie' failed, leaving the next album, 'Panic of Girls' in 2011 to be given away with a magazine while their current album, 'Ghosts of Download', comes with a greatest hits compilation that saw four oldies re-recorded. Over 75 minutes and an eight minute encore, we get golden memories updated for a new century. When I meet Debbie Harry earlier in that afternoon, I'm somewhat lost for words. I shake her hand, and offer her two things to sign. She offers to sign the other three CDs in my hand, and I feel humbled. The hits we get include 'Hanging on the Telephone', 'The Tide is High', and an extended update of 'Rapture', while new songs are mixed up with a few choice covers including Deee-Lite's 'Groove is in the Heart' and the Beastie Boys' '(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party!)', along with 'Hollywood Babylon', a Misfits track. I leave very happy, along with our neighbour who is 76 and this is his first gig. He queues up to do another first and buys a Debbie 'X Offender' T-shirt So, I have finally seen Blondie, a band for me as important as the Beatles. Thank you to the prettiest girl in the world.

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Blondie - O2 Academy, Leicester, 19/8/2014

Blondie - O2 Academy, Leicester, 19/8/2014

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