Blondie – Live Review – Scarborough Open Air Theatre
By Charlotte Oliver, June 2023
Scarborough was certainly looking its seaside best in the golden sunshine of a glorious summer evening but, try as it might, it was pointless trying to compete for the attention of the 8000+ pairs of eyes that were all fixed firmly on the stage of the Open Air Theatre, awaiting the arrival of music legends Blondie. Already well-warmed up by a great support set from exciting young band, The K’s (whose cover of ‘Dirty Old Town’ featured a tour de force vocal by lead singer Jamie Boyle), the crowd’s excitement reached uncontainable levels when Blondie strode out, with all the swagger they had 40 years ago when they first burst onto the music scene.
Naturally, all of the attention immediately fell upon the famously beautiful lead singer, Deborah Harry. Dressed in an entirely jade green outfit, a pair of thigh-high leopard print boots and mirrored sunglasses, she looked amazing and was soon in complete command of the stage and audience as she sang and danced her way through their set.
And what a set it was!
As someone who has always enjoyed their music but not considered myself a die-hard fan, I was surprised by the number of stone-cold classics Blondie’s back catalogue contains and delighted to find that, during the course of the gig, the audience were treated to almost every single one of them.
From the opening bars of ‘One Way or Another’ right through to the final encore of ‘Dreaming’, Blondie gave us exactly what we all wanted, and more. Hit after hit had the crowd roaring with appreciation and singing along to every word of songs that still sound as fresh as they ever did. There were so many highlights that it is hard to name them all, but they included ‘Atomic’, whose distinctive guitar riff sounded incredible through the OAT’s enormous sound system, ‘The Tide Is High’ (particularly for the joy that it filled the theatre with) and ‘Heart of Glass’.
The audience was an eclectic bunch that clearly included many dewy-eyed folk who had fallen in love with their music (and, let’s face it, Harry) back in the day, as well as tons of younger fans who have more recently discovered Blondie’s genre-defying, intoxicating blend of punk, reggae, disco, rock and pop.
“Poise and punk attitude”
At nearly 78, Harry is as timeless as her music, and has clearly defied the effects of aging that mere mortals experience, but it is her poise and punk attitude that remain most remarkable; at an age when many people are content to put their feet up, she continues to re-define the word cool and her fans absolutely love her for it. And I stand by my response to the man at the bar who suggested Harry’s voice wasn’t all it used to be, ‘If you’re up there at her age, doing better than that, then you can comment.’ But I suspect Harry doesn’t need me to defend her – there is nothing cooler or more punk than being wholeheartedly yourself whatever anybody else thinks and she is the embodiment of both.
Blondie are continuing their tour and I whole-heartedly recommend you see them even if you don’t consider yourself a diehard fan. You soon will be!
Top image: Dave Lawrence
Other images: Cuffe & Taylor