Next year, the force of nature that is Blondie enter their 50th year as a band. Formed in New York City in 1974 by Debbie Harry and Chris Stein, they were front and centre of the subsequent punk and new wave explosion and vocalist Harry is now rightly considered an icon in music, fashion and pop culture in general. So what better backdrop for this iconic band to play against, than the picturesque Cardiff Castle as it basks in the early evening mid-June sunlight?
The crowd’s merriment is instantly taken up a notch as the band stride on stage straight into One Way Or Another with Harry exuding cool with her yellow suit and shades combo. The band, including former Sex Pistol Glen Matlock, also look rather fetching in their brightly coloured suits, as they bounce about the stage with the energy of a band half their age. Debbie Harry leads the crowd through singalongs galore, Hanging On The Telephone and Call Me making quite the opening to their set.
Blondie follow that up by taking it all the way back to 1978’s Parallel Lines, with Fade Away And Radiate followed by Will Anything Happen. Atomic is up next and is a reminder to everybody what a powerhouse bassist Matlock can be. Crowd participation reaches peak levels with the anthemic The Tide Is High, while Long Time – from 2017’s Pollinator is a soaring, danceable number that sits perfectly with the rapidly setting sun.
Late-90s comeback single Maria, followed by Heart Of Glass, gets everybody singing again before the band take a pre-encore breather. With Debbie Harry emerging in a striking mirrorball-covered hooded cape, Blondie round a very enjoyable night off with Fun/Denis and Dreaming. We weren’t simply witnessing a band going through the motions tonight: the NYC icons proved there’s plenty of gas left in in their tank.
When the 1st Marquess Of Bute had a bit of gardening work done at this place in the mid-18th century, I’d like to think he had the foresight to see that the castle may hold the odd rock concert or two in the future, such is the beauty of tonight’s surroundings. The addition of Blondie just made it perfect.
Blondie, Cardiff Castle, Fri 16 June
words CHRIS ANDREWS photos SIN HART
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