Written by James Downing
Going to see a Pat Benatar concert is like putting a quarter in a classic rock juke box. She performs hit after hit and her voice still sounds great! By adding to that wonderful voice, Pat’s husband Neil Giraldo and his screaming guitar licks, you have one of the best shows on the classic rock circuit today.
Pat didn’t have a new album out to promote this summer but she does have a book out called “Between A Heart And A Hard Place.” Each city tour stop became an appearance at a local bookstore to sign copies of the book and to meet her fans. She was going to be at the Davis Kidd Book Store in Memphis at 12:30pm on the day of the show, so I packed up my bags and took off early that morning so that I could meet up with my friend Julie, who lives in Memphis, and go meet Pat.
She was just going to be at Davis Kidd for an hour, so there were not photo ops to be had. However, she did take time with each fan and speak to them briefly, ask them their name and sign their books. I told her that Nashville needed her to come back to the Wildhorse Saloon sometime soon. She said that they had been site seeing in Nashville a few days earlier and that she would love to play there again.
Regular readers of my blog on Concert Blast know that I have a weakness for the female rockers and Pat Benatar is no exception. As REO Speedwagon’s road crew took down their stage, Pat’s road crew was setting up hers. I was really getting excited because this was just the second time I had seen her live.
The outside lights went down right on time and Pat and Neil walked out onto the stage to thunderous cheers from the crowd. They started the set with “All Fired Up” and that was exactly what the audience was, fired up! I thought that the crowd could have been a little more rowdy for REO but I guess they were saving it all for Pat. Next up on the set list was one of my favorite songs in Pat’s long list of hits, “Shadows Of The Night” (I loved this video when it was on MTV). Pat then said hello to the crowd and said that she thought that Memphis had been the hottest it had been for a show so far on their tour. But the heat didn’t seem to bother her very much as she belted out “If You Think You Know How To Love Me” followed by “Promises In The Dark.”
Before the next song Pat said that she was going to do the theme song from the worst movie ever made. That movie was “The Legend Of Billie Jean” and the song was “Invincible.” To tell you the truth I thought the movie was all right. Maybe if I saw it again today, I would feel differently.
During each show two stools are brought out on stage and Pat and Neil do a short acoustic set. I am sure in the Memphis heat that they needed the short break. Pat told a story about everyone knowing what the first video that was aired on MTV. Of course it was The Buggles “Video Killed The Radio Star.” She went on to say that a lot of people don’t know what the second one was. It was her video for “You Better Run.” She added that since The Buggles didn’t feature a guitar player, her husband Neil was the first guitar player to appear on MTV. With that being said, they broke into a stripped down acoustic version of the song. Neil is an excellent guitarist. A lot of people don’t know it but that very familiar opening riff to Rick Springfield’s “Jessie’s Girl” is not Rick but Neil Giraldo. Pat was commenting on the heat again and a huge bug flew by her face. A very startled look came over her face and she said “What was that??? If one of those fly in my mouth the show is over!!!” The next song of the acoustic set was “I Don’t Want To Be Your Friend (I Want To Be Your Lover).”
Now it was time to rock again. The stools were moved and Pat and Neil served up another hit for the crowd, “We Belong.” Really? I could think of several songs I would have wanted to hear other than this one. Not one of my favorites. Pat then talked about how back in the late 70′s she was reading a story in the newspaper about child abuse. She said that she wrote the next song about it and that she is going to keep singing it until there are no more abused children in the world. Of course this led the band into the song, “Hell Is For Children.” The next song is my very favorite from Pat, but she said that she hates to do it live. She told the crowd that she wanted them to sing the chorus so she wouldn’t have to. That song is one of her first big hits, “Hit Me With Your Best Shot.” And the crowd helped her as they sung along to every word. She closed the show with “Love Is A Battlefield.” Pat and the band said good night and walked off the stage but they audience was not really to let her leave yet. They came back out to the stage as Pat and the band performed, “Heartbreaker,” which is the biggest hit from her first record “In The Heat Of The Night.”
I had one problem with this show and that is, it was almost the exact same show that I had seen a couple of years ago at The Wildhorse in Nashville. As it was with REO Speedwagon who opened this show there were no surprises just the hits. And that is what most people come to hear. Pat and Neil have a lot of other good songs on their many records that I would love to hear live. For this reason on the Concert Blast scale of 1 to 10 I am going to give this show a 9.
Pat and Neil make a great team on stage. They deliver night after night. They are touring all summer with REO Speedwagon. I would suggest you catch their live show if you get the chance. Have your quarters ready for the classic rock juke box!!!!
Written by James Downing
Tags: 2010, 9, blog, concert blast, concert review, Heartbreaker, Hell is for children, Hit me with your best shot, James Downing, July, Love is a Battlefield, Memphis, Memphis Botanic Garden, Neil Giraldo, Pat Benatar, REO Speedwagon, TN