Aug 7, 2009

Call Me Invincible Concert Review

Just a few days ago I was lucky enough to attend a concert at the Meadowbrook US Cellular Pavilion in Gilford, NH. As part of the Call Me Invincible Tour, I witnessed performances by the femme fatals of rock and roll - The Donnas, Blondie, and Pat Benatar (in that order). I have absolutely nothing but positives to say about the three bands and their performances. If you own the greatest hits of any of the bands (and even The Donnas have a Greatest Hits now, which I own, and I recommend but don't do reviews for Best Of's/Greatest Hits) you'll hear at least half of the songs on the album. No one left the concert I attended unhappy. I'd like to give a perfect set list, but the music was loud, I was in the heat of the moment, and don't remember everything picturesque. I shall, however, do my best.

The show started at 7:00 with The Donnas coming out and playing for a half an hour, consisting of such hits as "Get Off", "Perfect Stranger", a few I can't remember, and closing out with their biggest single, "Take It Off". Unfortunately most of the fans in attendance didn't come as early as I did, so the place was only half full (and that's a generous estimation) so The Donnas didn't get the acclaim they deserved. They tried to bring what little crowd there was to life with some interaction to little avail, but they had the beautiful attitude of "I don't care if I'm playing in front of 20 people or 20,000 people". The guitarist Allison Robertson especially matched both of the headlining band's guitarists in sheer velocity. Without the use of any sort of stimulant or hallucinogens, I really feel like I watched Robertson melt the guitar into a matter beyond tangible and non-tangible, and weave and distort it into hypnotic yet chaotic, mind-numbing ROCK!

7:30/7:35, after the roadies come and swap out all of The Donnas' equipment for Blondie's. Blondie, sans singer, comes out and warms up a tad to a big ovation, then out comes Debbie Harry to a standing O while a huge Blondie backdrop rises behind them. Blondie would play for a solid hour and a half, breaking hearts with "Call Me", "One Way Or Another", "The Tide Is High" (which along with) "Maria" (I have a new-found love for), "Hanging On The Telephone, "Rapture", and "Atomic", with some others. The fans were so into Blondie that the entire place was shaking during the parts they could sing along with. And while I definitely loved the performance, I must say there were parts when Debbie Harry looked a little old on stage (which I suppose is natural at 62). It was still entertaining to see Harry pulling a rapping granny routine, juking and jiving on stage to Rapture. On the flip-side, when the fans were taking over, Harry had a new life breathed into her and looked at least thirty years younger. And every musician got at least one solo throughout the performance, which was a nice gesture. The fans were so wild after Blondie left, that they had to come back out and do a two-or-three set encore. I don't think I knew all of the songs, but I definitely recognized "Heart Of Glass" which owned, to say the least.

Then there was some boring, ten-fifteen minute Meadowbrook staff "entertainment" featuring the cash chamber where some woman was able to win a whopping $49. Then without gimmick or frills, out came Pat Benetar and co. to a crazy standing ovation. Benetar's troupe played for another hour and a half, featuring some crazy solos, but also some interesting side-stories from Benetar's husband/lead guitarist, Spyder. I don't remember if anybody else got any solos, but Spyder definitely proved why this band is still allowed to play for crowds young and old alike. Benetar's vocals were still amazing at her age, and the crowd was crazy during such hits as "We Belong", "Love Is A Battlefield", "Shadows Of The Night", "Promises In The Dark", "Hell Is For Children" and "Hit Me With Your Best Shot". The crowd wouldn't let themselves be jipped though, and I think Benatar knew this. A lot of cheering for an empty stage and seat-rattling later, Benetar and co., came back out to send the folks home happy with "Heartbreaker" and a few others.

While all the bands were completely stellar, I have to point out a few minor, non-band-problematic complaints. 1) How expensive is crap going to get at concert venues before someone creates a viable alternative/method to sneak in their own food/drink? Seriously, I paid $8 for a personal pan pizza! It was maybe 6" in diameter!

Secondly, have some common sense about when to stand and when to sit. I had a few gentlemen in front of me who wanted to stand throughout 90% of the show, which greatly blocked my view, but while I wasn't for their decision, I wasn't against it. They have 80 foot screens by the stage for a reason, and whenever I wanted to see what was going on, I could have stood up myself. Their standing was not making me deaf to the music all around me. It's a concert! Not a movie! But some concert-Nazi two rows behind us, who in no way due to the stadium-styled seating could have been effected, began childishly hurling debris and clothing at them, screaming at them to sit down. Gladly the gentlemen responded just as rudely with obscene gestures, and though threats of having the other group kicked out were hurled around, no action was taken by either side. Regardless, that irked me, and we had a less forward group to my left who did the same to people two rows in front of them, though through polite requests. As I see it, you pay your fee for the seat reserved and for entrance, and anything you do thereafter is up to you. If you don't want to take full advantage of the opportunity you paid for because it's not socially acceptable and what the rest of the crowd is doing, then that's your fault. I'm a follower and stayed seated until everyone else stood, but I still stand on the side of the standers.

An overall amazing concert. I suggest anyone who has the chance to see any of these bands, and if possible, see them together on this one month longer tour. Here are the rest of the available dates for the trio, with individual performance dates found at

Fri. August 7 Bethlehem, PA Bethlehem Musikfest
Sat. August 8 Boston, MA Bank of America Pavilion
Tue. August 11 Canandaigua, NY Constellation Brands Marvin Sands Performing Arts Center
Thu. August 13 Brooklyn, NY Asser Levy Park
Sat. August 15 Cincinnati, OH Riverbend Music Center
Mon. August 17 Highland Park, IL Ravinia Pavilion
Thu. August 20 Austin, TX Austin Music Hall
Sat. August 22 Biloxi, MS Beau Rivage Resort
Sun. August 23 Houston, TX The Arena Theater

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