Fountain of Youth

Move over Ponce de Leòn. I’ve discovered my own Fountain Of Youth – and it’s called music. I’m not the only person to make this discovery. Just ask Debbie Harry from the rock band Blondie. I attended their show last week in Boston at the Leader Bank Pavilion outdoor venue on the waterfront. The band played with renewed energy thanks to a couple of new members joining the group on their current tour. This was no aging rock band singing “oldies” (see Rod Stewart). This was a force of nature demanding to be reckoned with.

Six months ago someone sent me a link to a promo announcing Blondie’s area tour dates. I didn’t hesitate to purchase tickets because I wasn’t sure how much longer the band would be touring. At some point, a rock band becomes too old to rock-and-roll. I understand there are exceptions (see The Rolling Stones) but those exceptions are few and far between.

It’s different with Blondie. Although categorized as a punk/new wave band when they first appeared on the scene, their music is eclectic enough to defy classification. Diversity adds to their longevity as a band. Instead of repeating sure-fire hits, each new album the band releases expands their musical stylings. Blondie songs run the gamut from punk, new wave, disco, jazz, ballads and everything in between.

I was very disappointed a few weeks before the show when I received an email stating the concert was postponed due to Covid precautions (is that still a thing?). A message in my Twitter feed from Clem Burke, the band’s drummer, confirmed the show would be moved to the end of the month. I kept my fingers crossed and hoped for the best.

The show was rescheduled for a Monday night at the end of August. Although a weekend date would have been better, I was thankful the concert was still a go and not canceled completely. I prayed the fine stretch of summer weather we’ve been having would hold out just a bit longer. I remember seeing the band at the end of August in 2005 as the remnants of Hurricane Katrina battered the outdoor tent venue and dampened the enjoyment of the night. Sideways rain is never a good thing at an outdoor concert under a tent on the harbor.

My prayers were answered. The weather was perfect. A light breeze off the harbor. A beautiful sunset. My emergency sweatshirt never made body contact. The opening band, The Damned, was a 70’s/80’s punk(ish) rock group from England whom I didn’t remember. Somehow they never appeared on my musical radar.

Blondie took the stage with splashy cartoon graphics flashing on giant screens behind the performers. The band opened with a couple of songs from their first album and worked through their musical catalog chronologically playing songs from their decades-spanning album catalog. Drummer Clem Burke was stellar as he smashed and banged his way through each song without missing a beat. The energy level was through the tent roof as former Sex Pistols’ bassist Glen Matlock elevated the songs to stratospheric dimensions.

The star of the evening was Debbie Harry. I can’t imagine the stamina it takes to front a traveling rock-and-roll tour through a months-long multi-city tour schedule. Debbie managed to make it look easy. Though her vocal register may be a little lower, her voice remains solid. She was the effervescent front woman leading this band through a night of high-octane performances.

During the show I was transported back to 1978 when I first saw the band at the Orpheum Theater (is that still a thing?). The energy level was the same then as it is now. During the current show I was on my feet the entire time feeling no pain in my ancient knees. That’s when I realized rock-and-roll music may actually be the Fountain of Youth. Don’t take my word for it. Ask Debbie Harry. She is living proof that age 77 is the new 27. So that makes me 17 again. Only now, nobody can yell at me for playing my music too loudly. Rock on!

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