Blondie – Live Review – The Piece Hall, Halifax

Blondie The PIece Hall Halifax

By Steve Crabtree, June 2024

At last… it’s here. That time of year we Haligonians all wait for, and at 6pm on a coolish and breezy summer’s evening in Halifax, the Piece Hall opened its gates to their live music season once again.

It’s one of the things I look forward to the most each summer. All these huge bands and artists heading to my tiny hometown of Halifax, and thousands turning out in their droves to make an evening, an afternoon or even a full day of it when it’s gig night. All our local independent bars and eateries are part and parcel of what a gig night at The Piece Hall is all about. And that’s something that makes me proud to come from around here.

It was new-wave rock icons Blondie who had the honour of kicking off almost three months of top-quality musical entertainment in this jewel of West Yorkshire, 50 years after they first formed. As we got into the venue, there was a lot of excitement already on show around the place.

Starsailor at Blondie The PIece Hall Halifax

“Music that you can’t help but know and love”

To warm things up, the magnificent Starsailor was our support act. I’d seen this announced, but forgotten they were on the bill so I was delighted when they came on stage. James Walsh’s voice is always a pleasure to listen to and, in all honesty, they’re well and truly good enough to headline their own show at The Piece Hall.

But come 9pm, Blondie strutted onto the stage to a heroic welcome, just as the sky was greying over a little bit.  But they were going to make sure there was no dullness for us revellers for the next 90 minutes. Armed with a pint of Living The Dream from the Loafers bar, my wife and I found our spot for the night and enjoyed a 16-song-strong setlist, filled with music that you can’t help but know and love.

They hurtled into the up-tempo ‘One Way Or Another’ to begin their set, meaning we were singing along and moving from the start. They followed that with ‘Hanging On The Telephone’ and ‘Sunday Girl’, and at only three songs in we were being very spoiled.

Were they peaking too soon? Not a chance. ‘Sunday Girl’ came next, before treating us to ‘Living In The Real World’, a song they said they haven’t played since 1998. And, they sounded terrific.

Blondie The PIece Hall Halifax

“Such wonderful surroundings”

As usual, we had that lovely atmosphere inside the courtyard. It’s something that you just don’t get inside a purpose-built concrete arena.  The mood always matches the aesthetics in The Piece Hall, and when you’re in such wonderful surroundings you can’t help but smile and enjoy where you are. Debbie Harry called the place “quite beautiful”. We all know she’s right.

The quality of the bands obviously helps with things too. And Blondie kept the energy up all night.  Hits like ‘Heart Of Glass’ and ‘Maria’ were loved by the ‘fax crowd. And the live version of ‘Rapture’ was a highlight for me.  ‘The Tide Is High’ was another one that sounded great and went down really well.

At 78 years old, former waitress and Playboy bunny Debbie Harry still nails a performance.  Vocally, she might not quite be as polished as she was on the records 40-plus years ago. But she still does a great job, whilst simultaneously owning that stage. It is quite hard to take your eyes off her.

Blondie The PIece Hall Halifax

“A plethora of outstanding songs”

For the last 20 minutes of the show, the rain really hammered down on us. And yours truly wasn’t dressed for it. However, with these fantastic tunes, lights and mood…the rain was actually a fantastic addition. It added to the atmosphere and played its own part in a superb night.

After pleasuring us all with a plethora of outstanding songs, they finished with ‘Dreaming’ as part of a two-song encore, which was a perfect choice to end the night on.  A tune that you easily forget about when recalling Blondie hits, but love when you hear it.

So, Live at The Piece Hall 2024 has started, and it’s started well. It’s a fixture on the musical calendar nowadays, and wherever you go people know about this 18th-century cloth hall that does this wonderful thing. Blondie, who have a night off before doing it all again here one more time, has set a pretty high bar for the other 31 outstanding acts playing here between now and the end of August.

And I’m very excited for yet another incredible musical summer in Halifax…


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