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The continuing allure of Blondie and Debbie Harry packs Newbury venue





Bootleg Blondie at Arlington Arts on Saturday, November 25, review by BRIAN HARRINGTON

Bootleg Blondie at Arlington Arts Pic: Brian Harrington
Bootleg Blondie at Arlington Arts Pic: Brian Harrington

THE continuing allure of Blondie and Debbie Harry was amply demonstrated by the fact that Arlington Arts was packed to capacity tonight, including the standing section, which was bopping from the start.

Bootleg Blondie at Arlington Arts
Bootleg Blondie at Arlington Arts

Lead vocalist Debbie Harris was selected from more than 15,000 to be Blondie and appear in Even Better Than The Real Thing on BBC1 with Paddy McGuiness. The pilot episode drew four million viewers.

Opening well over two hours worth of non-stop, high energy music with the smash hit Atomic, Debbie never stopped moving (I’m sure she must be powered by a well-known brand of high power battery).

With barely a pause for breath Bootleg Blondie powered their way through a great selection of hits, and some lesser known tracks including Dreaming, Eat To The Beat, Pretty Baby and more... all that before the interval!

In 2016 Clem Burke, the original drummer of Blondie came to a Bootleg Blondie gig and got up to play drums with them, the ultimate seal of approval.

Bootleg Blondie at Arlington Arts Pic: Brian Harrington
Bootleg Blondie at Arlington Arts Pic: Brian Harrington

The second half featured more hits and album tracks including Picture This, Maria, Denis (of course), Sunday Girl and a series of encores started with Union City Blue, with the audience enthusiastically demanding “just one more” and the band obliging with more songs like Colour Me, a cover of

T Rex’s Get It On (which Blondie covered on her Blondie And Beyond album and performed live at Asbury Park Convention Hall in 1979) before Heart Of Glass brought the night to a close.

If you were expecting note perfect covers of the singles tonight may have been a surprise, because it was much more reminiscent of the raw and raucous days of Blondie in clubs like the famous CBGB, where, of course, Blondie appeared many times and which gave first breaks to many bands of the era, such as the Ramones, Joan Jett, The Cramps and others.

Bootleg Blondie at Arlington Arts Pic: Brian Harrington
Bootleg Blondie at Arlington Arts Pic: Brian Harrington

I loved the use of props, such as the phone booth.

A great night out.



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