Blondie and Garbage’s “Rage & Rapture” Tour at Mann Center

It was a night of women’s power as ‘Blondie’ and ‘Garbage’ brought their co-headlining ‘Rage and Rapture’ tour to The Mann Center on August 2, filling the venue with an all-ages crowd, and just enough vintage punk wear to remind you of the headliners’ style.

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The evening opened with ‘Deap Vally’, a rock duo formed in Los Angeles, California in 2011. The group consists of Lindsey Troy (guitar, vocals) and Julie Edwards (drums and vocals).  Just think of a concentrated version of ‘The Runaways’.  They supplied a great kick start to the evening producing high energy songs which at times made you wonder how so much sound could be coming from just two musicians.

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As the sun went down and Garbage took the stage, lead singer Shirley Manson was greeted with a huge uproar from the crowd.  The band went right into their newest release, ‘No Horses’, which has the traditional Garbage synths and is an anti-protest song.  The band posted that profits from sales and streams of ‘No Horses’ will be donated to the International Committee of the Red Cross through the end of 2018.

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During a break in the set, Shirley said, “Philadelphia, where it all started! I loved John Wayne movies, Chips, Dukes of Hazzard, I’m a 60’s baby, so what.”  Manson visited the audience numerous times, going deeper and deeper into the first few rows, to the delight of those lucky fans.  She also shouted out to the LGBTQ community, thanked them for 20 years of support, and said that ‘Cherry Lips’ was for them.

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Shirley said that while performing she has the most interesting flashbacks, and really enjoys the way the music brings back her memories.  She told a story of starting out as a 17-year-old, playing keyboards for a band, and falling in love.  She discovered Debbie Harry, Patti Smith, and The Pretenders.  She wrote ‘Special’, a self-admitted total Pretenders rip off.  She faxed front-woman Chrissie Hynde and explained that she borrowed an interpretation of ‘Talk of the Town’.  Hynde faxed back and said use her song, her line, or her ass, if she would like. August 2 happened to be drummer Butch Vig’s birthday, and Shirley Manson invited the crowd to a sing along with ‘Happy Birthday’. Manson’s sultry stage presence did not miss a beat as she crawled across the stage, laid on her back, and displayed aerobic-like dancing throughout the night.

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The Garbage set list included: No Horses, Sex Is Not the Enemy, #1 Crush, Empty, I Think I’m Paranoid, Cherry Lips (Go Baby Go!), Blackout, Special, Cup of Coffee, Even Though Our Love Is Doomed, The World Is Not Enough, Stupid Girl, Only Happy When It Rains, Push It, and Vow.

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Blondie began playing the familiar beat of ‘One Way or Another’darkened stage.  Debbie Harry, the queen bee, entered the dark stage and turned her back to the crowd revealing a black cape through a single spotlight.  The cape had a simple message: “Stop Fucking the Planet”! Wearing a tiara with two huge bees, and sporting gold sunglasses, was no doubt to promote ‘Pollinator’, the eleventh studio album by Blondie.

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The 80’s were in full effect at the Mann during Blondie’s set which brought many of the concert goers back to a simpler time before people were nose deep into cell phones during a concert!  The Keytar even made an appearance.  Harry and company covered all of the Blondie hits and some new tunes including, ‘My Monster’, written by Johnny Marr.  The song was very upbeat and reminiscent of that 80s Blondie sound.  Some in the audience wore replicated bee tiaras while others chose to pull out their old studded jean jackets.  It was a great evening to reflect on some of the pioneers of women in rock, as well as discovering some new performers to take the torch.

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The Blondie Set list included; One Way or Another, Hanging on the Telephone (The Nerves cover), Fun, Call Me, My Monster, Rapture, Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 (Bob Dylan cover), Fragments (an Unkindness cover), Too Much, Long Time, Atomic, Heart of Glass, Encore: The Tide Is High (The Paragons cover), and Dreaming.

[Photos by: Brockswell Photography]

[Article by Bob Linneman]

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