Despite the torrential downpour Thursday night, Blondie and Garbage devotees came in droves to Wolf Trap, with rain ponchos and umbrellas in hand, to hear two distinctively powerful and iconic woman-led bands of different generations, inspiring forward-thinking music and cultural progression.
Primed with a 20-minute set by California’s female alternative rock duo Deap Vally (Lindsey Troy and Julie Edwards), Garbage took the stage to rally the still gathering crowd with mood-setting lights and atmospheric intensity, opening with their brand new single, “No Horses.”
“What a spectacular venue!” proclaimed Garbage songstress Shirley Manson after the band’s first rush of songs.
“We love you!” an enthusiast roared, as Manson thanked fans for coming out and expressed genuine gratitude for being able to tour with the very group that heartened Garbage into existence.
With glossy, electric red hair, a zebra-patterned dress and multi-cut out black stockings, Manson looked stylish and confident, commanding center stage with an authoritative pace, frequently marching in mesmerizing circles.
Intense and dramatic, Manson showcased all of Garbage’s notables in their 75-minute set, including the Bond theme, “The World is Not Enough,” “Only Happy When it Rains,” and “Stupid Girl.” Guitarist Steve Marker, bassist Duke Erickson, and drummer Butch Vig hooked into a vibrant groove with “Special,” giving it enhanced texture. They closed the set with a hard-charging “Vow.”
Following a 15-minute intermission, Blondie launched at full blast with a 14-song set full of classics such as “Atomic,” “Call Me,” “Rapture,” as well as several selections, including “Fun” and “My Monster,” from the band’s latest, eleventh studio album, Pollinator.
Rocking black shades, her signature platinum blonde hair, platform sandals, a head piece adorned with bees, and a black cape emblazoned with “STOP (expletive) OUR PLANET,” Debbie Harry was radiant as she entered the stage to raucous cheers and wild applause, immediately propelling into a rousing “One Way or Another” and “Hanging on the Telephone.” It is hard to believe that Harry is now 72; she looked fabulous and fit!
Blondie tore through each of their biggest hits with visuals, ranging from vintage footage of the band to colorful graphics akin to an electronic dance concert. Guitarist Tommy Kessler was impressive with his explosive solo – particularly when he was playing with the instrument behind his head – as were co-founding guitarist Chris Stein, drummer Clem Burke, bassist Leigh Foxx, and keyboardist Matt Katz-Bohen.
Mindful of the 11:00 pm curfew at Wolf Trap, which Harry gamely addressed, the band clinched the set with a formidable version of “Heart of Glass.” Blondie capped the evening with a two-song encore of a playful “The Tide is High” and an exquisite “Dreaming.”
A concert of rage and rapture indeed.
Blondie & Garbage: The Rage and Rapture Tour played one night only on Thursday, August 3, 2017 at the Filene Center at Wolf Trap – 1551 Trap Road, in Vienna, VA. For future performances and information, call (877) 965-3872 or check out Wolf Trap’s calendar of events.