The Fillmore Silver Spring has been open for less than a week and has already generated quite a bit of buzz. After selling every available ticket for Mary J. Blige and John Legend, it opened its doors for a different generation of music. People lined up on Colesville Road two hours early for Tuesday’s 8 pm show. People came to relive the past. They came to support a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-inducted band and their new album. Some even came to educate their children about the clever composition of late 70s/early 80s music. We were all there to experience the awesomeness that is Blondie.
Opening the show was Lissie Trullie, a band headed up by D.C.’s own Elizabeth McChesney. They sounded like a classic garage band and sang several songs from the 2009 album Self-Taught Learner. Since the Fillmore has bars on either side of the lower level standing area, most of the audience was pretty inebriated by then and felt comfortable asking (shouting, really) personal questions between songs.
McChesney was gracious and humored the crowd. While none of the songs except Boy Boy were particularly memorable, she sang them with conviction. All four members of Lissie Trullie put forth a respectable effort to warm up a crowd that was more than ready to see the
Thankfully, we did not have long to wait. Blondie came out in full force promptly at 9 pm and performed a great set that included mostly high-energy hits. Deborah Harry’s voice is still enchanting and she still knows how to share a stage with immensely talented musicians. She smiled and grooved along with the audience as if she was hosting a party for all of us. And what a party it was! The new material from Panic of Girls (available exclusively on Amazon.com) rocked just as hard as all of the favorites from over 30 years ago. D-Day is so heavy on the percussion that it is impossible not to head-bang to it, and China Shoes is simple and poetic – the perfect song to sway to on a late summer evening. One highlight of the night was when Harry flowed through Rapture and went straight into a verse of The Beastie Boys’ (You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party!). Most of the evening was like that – neither Ms. Harry nor drummer Clem Burke took a breather and just segued into the next song. The only time Harry wasn’t in motion was when it was time for her band mates to be in the multi-colored spotlight, like when Chris Stein went to the very edge of the stage and started playing his guitar behind his back to much screaming and applause from the audience.
The enthusiasm was most audible when we heard the familiar opening notes of One Way or Another. Both the people standing in front of the stage and the fans in the balconies sang and danced along to a delightfully extended version of one the group’s biggest hits. After successfully bringing down the house, they came back to sing not one, but two encore songs! They ended with Heart of Glass, and everyone left the venue chatting happily about what a fantastic show Blondie put on.
The night was lots of fun, but never at the lead singer’s expense. Sure, she occasionally flirted with the audience as she took off a few of her many layers of clothing in a teasing way and danced without reservation, but she did not make a complete spectacle of herself in order to entertain. What many female pop artists of this decade do not realize is that anyone can be the center of attention if she is wearing animals on her head, choking on glitter, or wearing 8-inch ankle-breaker shoes. What has helped Debbie Harry maintain her appeal for so long is her focus on not ridiculous stunts, but the eternally enjoyable music that she and the other members of Blondie create. I’m looking forward to seeing what else they have in store for their fourth decade of making musical gold.
Final Grade: A+
TRR Concert Revue by Stephanie Taylor