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Debbie Harry can still have the fans in raptures

“Good evening, Belfast,” cooed Debbie Harry. “This is Blondie calling.” The New Wave survivors were at the Nugent Hall last night, and they gave the audience what they wanted.

That meant Hanging On The Telephone, Maria, Atomic, The Tide Is High, Rapture, Call Me and One Way Or Another.

The band also played some excellent new material. Love Doesn't Frighten Me At All and What I Heard from the soon-to-be-released (or is it? Debbie didn't seem too sure) Panic Of Girls album were as driving and melodic as the old songs.

Original members Harry, guitarist Chris Stein and drummer Clem Burke were backed by a trio of younger bucks on second guitar, bass and keyboards, but the dodgy sound mix meant not all musicians were always audible at the same time.

Burke suffered most, with his usually powerhouse skin-beating often reduced to a series of muffled thuds.

Harry, however, sounded fine. Her voice still hit most of the notes, though she did get the audience to help out at times.

The singer was wearing an elaborate black dress, with what appeared to be a blonde wig. She looked great for a 64-year-old, and still managed to get the ageing punks hot and bothered.

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Indeed, the crowd reaction was impressive throughout. People were reliving misspent youths, which was a challenge in this venue, as the sun streamed in through skylights in the corrugated metal roof.

By the time of the encore — which included Picture This and Heart Of Glass — the atmosphere had improved, but for the most part this was a gig in a cattle shed in daylight.

Not quite the ideal environment for this particular bunch of rock 'n' roll legends.


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