As a purveyor of all genres of music, especially music that I grew up on because my parents listened to a bit of everything, specifically popular 70s and 80s bands such as Blondie, Journey, David Bowie, Duran Duran, The Eagles, you name it, I probably was exposed to it growing up. Seeing Blondie live in concert is a milestone I really wanted to be a part of. I was asked to attend on behalf of X, who are legends in their own right, since the band has been in formation with the original founders, writers and members, since 1977. Folks, you just don't see longevity like this in bands much anymore. And the fact that they can still perform like they did when they first started, is a sheer testament to their willpower of playing and performing music. X are one of the original sounding American punk rock bands, mixing punk and folk rock. X and Blondie performed at Buckhead Theatre in Atlanta on Tuesday, October 1.
The band played many of their singles from their iconic and first studio album, "Los Angeles," which was produced by ex-Doors keyboard player, Ray Manzarek. It is also listed by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the "500 greatest albums of all time." A few were also taken off their second studio album, "Wild Gift," as well as their third, "Under the Big Black Sun." Altogether, X released seven full-length studio albums, and parted ways in the early to mid-90s, and began touring again in the early 2000s. All original members currently tour together. I'm so glad they do, because I fear X wouldn't be the same. All of the members have gotten older, obviously, and are in their 60s, with lead singer Exene announcing her diagnosis of MS a few years back; she seems her happy, singing self and in her element when she's on stage with the guys.
Billy Zoom is a happy-go-lucky guitar player, who smiles the entire time he plays, and makes sure he gives you eye contact with a big grin while he's performing. And man, the guy can play a mean guitar! He's also played with such previous greats as Gene Vincent, Etta James, Big Joe Turner and others. John Doe is comical bass players, always lighting the mood and getting the crowd to respond with a fun heckling or two. Doe has also dabbled in acting, and can be seen in the Jerry Lee Lewis biopic, Great Balls of Fire, and the briefly popular television series, Roswell.
D.J. Bonebrake is also one of the original founding members of X, and although he seems quiet, he makes up for it with a might drum kit. Overall, X is still got the same pizzazz and urge to play punk well and do so, as they did when they first started in '77. If you kids want to hear what a real punk band sounds like, just pure and raw, check out their legendary album "Los Angeles." It can be purchased HERE.
Frankly, Blondie and X still have the same charisma and spirit that led to fans enjoying their studio and live music. Deborah Harry looks and sounds the same as she did when Blondie first came on the scene in 1976; and Clem Burke (original) is one heck of a drummer. The man can play a drum set like none of seen in a long time, and that's saying a lot, since drums are my favorite instrument. Chris Stein, also (original) guitarist, can still kick it up a notch or two and get the crowd enjoying each song. I find that Blondie live is much more enjoyable than their studio work. It's just brought to life in a much more crisper way. Kicking off their set was their infamous, "One Way or Another," with Harry pointing at the crowd while she was singing the catch chorus. Their newer songs are just as great as their older singles, and mesh well with Blondie's and Harry's style. The highlight of the show was with the song, "Rapture," with Clem Burke reminding us why he's an exceptional drummer, along with Chris Stein's play on the guitar.
Formerly known as The Roxy, the newly remodeled Buckhead Theatre is a fine, intimate venue that allows you close proximity to your favorite band. The crowd was mellow, yet engaged when needed to be, and everyone joined in the singing with X and Blondie. In the slideshow to the right are 12 pictures, with at least 6 pictures of X and Blondie apiece.
Setlist for Blondie:
1. One Way or Another
3. Hanging on the Telephone (Cover)
4. Union City Blue
5. A Rose by Any Name
6. The Tide Is High (Cover)
7. Drag You Around
(with No Sleep Till Brooklyn Beastie Boys snippet at the end)
11.What I Heard
12.Wipe Off My Sweat
13.Sugar on the Side
14.Heart of Glass
**X's setlist is photographed in the slideshow to the right of this article.
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