After 40 years, Debbie’s still got it.
Punk rock veterans Blondie delivered an incredible performance at Ravinia Festival to a massive, diverse crowd. Both Debbie Harry and Chris Stein have been with the group since the beginning, and despite taking a hiatus in the 1980s, the band have continually created amazing music and given their audience something to talk about. Their seamless blend of disco, reggae, and rock n’ roll have allowed their sound to transcend the decades; in 2006, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and have released two albums since. Their newest record, Pollinator, was released in May and showed their fans (and newcomers) that the band can still rock out in their 70s.
Ravinia is a massive outdoor park outside of Chicago that hosts some of the biggest artists throughout the summer. Normally home to classical and acoustic acts, this night the crowd was dressed to the nines in studded belts, red lipstick, and platform shoes. Not only was Blondie drawing crowds of older punk rockers (and their punk rock kids), but 90s alt-rockers Garbage had their own diehard fanbase. Led by Shirley Manson, the group formed in the early 90s in Madison, Wisconsin and had some of the biggest hits on MTV. Since then, Garbage has released six studio albums, including Strange Little Birds in 2016. Playing some of their biggest hits as well as their new singles, Shirley Manson looked radiant in an embellished red coat and had incredible vocal power. Garbage’s set was energetic and exciting, and their fans were elated to see this band up close.
Dressed in a cape that said “Stop Fucking the Planet” and wearing a bee mask, Debbie Harry opened the show with “One Way (Or Another)”, one of Blondie’s biggest hits. Debbie’s voice has barely aged in 40 years. She is still able to hit nearly every high note, and she seemed thrilled to be onstage. Blondie played songs from Pollinator as well as their classic albums; the band at times was a little dominating and muffled the vocals, but perhaps it was an attempt to mask the small imperfections in Debbie’s voice. To see people of all ages enjoying this iconic punk rock band was the highlight of the evening. Both Blondie and Garbage gave incredible performances, and the age of the audience shows that these women and their bands will never stop rocking.