New York’s Favorite Blondie Takes Over the Fillmore
By Ray Rogers
Well, she still knows how to make an entrance. New York’s glam, pop-punk icon Deborah Harry took the stage at the Fillmore New York last night in a black mini, black high-heeled boots, a skin-tight, rhinestone-studded, fishnet shawl with holes intentionally sewn in it, and what looked like a silver sequined black bathing cap on her head.
She pulled off her headscarf as she launched into her opening gambit, “I Can See Clearly,“ a frothy pop number from 1993’s Debravation. The crowd cheered as the downtown diva blew air kisses to the packed room of aging hipsters, guppies, Patricia Fields, the staff of rock ’n’ roll hairstylists from Mudhoney, and a Toilet Boy or two.
It’s been more than three decades since Blondie’s debut album came out in 1976, but remarkably, Harry’s silken voice has not been tattered by the years. She was at her best while crooning pop confections like “French Kissin’ in the USA“ and “Two Times Blue,“ one of the few memorable songs from her new solo album Necessary Evil.
The evening’s backdrop was a graphic of barbed wire and a scorpion-tailed flower, but there wasn’t much sting here tonight. While her band did crank out a few new, rougher-edged guitar numbers, they paled in comparison to Ms. Harry’s elegant kiss-offs of yore. Yes, they rocked, but they missed the cheekiness inherent in Blondie numbers like “One Way Or Another.“
When it came to the acoustic karaoke portion of the show, we’d had our fill. “The Tide Is High“ was peppered with a bit of unfortunate scatting at the end, and Blondie staple “Heart of Glass“ was a giant crowd sing-along on the “Ooh-oooh-ah-aaah“ parts. “You guys did a perfect fadeout,“ Harry cheered as we made our own fadeout.
The PR for the opening act, a Swedish bloke by the name of Kristoffer Ragnstam, pleaded with us to check him out. Sadly, he exited the stage 20 minutes early and we arrived to the sound of his last chord. The genial Mr. Clean look-alike, A.J., checking our ID’s (bless him!) gave us his assessment: “They didn’t send me.“ For the sake of fairness, on the way out we asked AJ what he made of Ms. Harry’s show. “Sounds fine,“ he shrugged.