Blondie at the Roundhouse
An incredible 39 years after Blondie first formed, Debbie Harry captures the stage at the Roundhouse and plays like it’s 1974 all over again. A powerhouse in pink platform wedges, she delivers an energetic set that fires hit after hit at the adoring crowd. Opening with One Way Or Another, Harry repeatedly points the microphone outwards to her fans, having them sing her iconic lyrics back to her. When they chant “Your hair is beautiful” during Atomic, she coquettishly replies “Thank you.”
The genre-spanning set veers from pop to disco to reggae to electronic without taking a breath and neither does Harry, her dance moves and unwavering vocals showing no signs of her age. Among the classic songs – Heart of Glass and Hanging on the Telephone both elicit huge responses from the crowd – the band pepper in new material. Far from losing interest, tracks like A Rose By Any Name are met with similar enthusiasm. New generations of Blondie fans, some in their early teens, sing along to every word, waving frantically at their idol. The band have some fun with the set list, a cover of Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s Relax has everyone singing along, although I Touch Myself might have been a more well-received risqué number.
Harry explains the neon pink leaves emblazoned in her outfit as a nod to the string of gigs in forests across the country that they’ve just finished. She’s happy to be here in London, she says, where it’s no longer so “fucking freezing.” The 2013 leg of their tour has proved that Blondie can still command an audience. As the band plays the opening of Call Me, Harry stands tall at the back of the stage, surveying the empire of fans she has built that are still eager to come out for a Blondie concert.
Harry is still one of the most important women in the industry, and judging by her audience she’s still inspiring new generations with the universality of her catchy songs. She dedicates Maria to them, proudly announcing “This is for the girls.” It’s clear that Blondie aren’t done making hits and we’re not done hearing them either.
Photos: Lucia Hrda
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Listen to A Rose by Any Name here: