The bee-loving Blondie hits the hard-working bee symbolising Manchester for a sell-out, hit-filled show at the O2 Apollo.
Blondie is a polarising, legendary new wave band that through their forty year history, has created some of the punk-world’s most brilliant works.
That’s the best thing about Blondie, they’re a punk band who creates pop sounds, the signature new wave sound. Tonight, they return to Manchester as strong as they’ve ever been.
French power-pop trio Mustang opens as tour support. The band are brilliant and are playing to a packed room, with a sound like The Jam playing with old Kraftwerk-esque synthesisers.
The worry is, will these bands who paved the way and influenced so many modern acts actually still sound good?
Pleasing to say, the 72-year old Debbie Harry still leads Blondie with pure style and they could be the best they’ve ever been.
Opening with the digital screens showing bees swarming around, the signature look of Blondie on this tour, before the band enters with “One Way or Another“. It’s the perfect opener, one of their best and everybody knows it.
It’s quickly noted, Blondie is the band, not Debbie Harry. Drummer Clem Burke steals the show immediately, throwing his stick in the air before catching it without missing a beat. He’s a true legend, often underrated in drumming circles.
They follow up with their signature cover of The Nerves‘ “Hanging on The Telephone” and then one of their latest singles “Fun“.
They’re on fire, hit after hit. “Call Me” makes it’s appearance as their fifth song of the night, if you’re into Blondie, and this crowd is, then you’re in heaven.
The band slows up to preform “Gravity“, written by pop-sensation Charli XCX and a highlight of their eleventh album released earlier this year Pollinator.
Blondie‘s innovative single “Rapture” arrives next, a surprise to those asking beforehand “Will Debbie Harry do her rap tonight?”, sure it’s not the best “rapping” but it was key in pushing hip-hop in the ’70s.
Harry continues with a blasting, surprise cover of Beastie Boys‘ classic “Fight For Your Right To Party!“.
The continuing mixture of Pollinator tracks and classics is sincere and the best part of Blondie‘s current show. “Fragments“, “Maria“, “Picture This“, “Long Time” all make appearances before the end of the set.
However, just like they started, Blondie bows out their set with two back-to-back favourites with “Atomic” and “Heart of Glass“.
Returning with Debbie Harry introducing the band, with Blondie originals Clem Burke and Chris Stein, before they dive head first into “Fade Away and Radiate” backed with “Union City Blue“.
It’s a brilliant encore, featuring brilliant lesser-talked about songs in their 40-plus year catalogue.
The loving crowd at the O2 Apollo are also treated to a different set list than the rest of the UK, no Johnny Marr penned “My Monster” and throwing in Beastie Boys and “Fade Away and Radiate“.
It all comes to an end, with seventeenth song of the night, “Dreaming“.
Blondie may be a nostalgic night-out, but they’ve definitely not become irrelevant. They’re one of the best live bands we’ve seen this year and they’re not slowing down.
Words by Jack Cinnamond, photography by and special thanks to Vicky Pea, courtesy of Planet Slop.