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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August 8 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 32
Pat Benatar still invincible at 61
Arts & Entertainment
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Pat Benatar still invincible at 61

by Ken Campbell - SGN A&E Writer

Pat Benatar is a rock goddess. That's all I can say about her. She's like a diva that will kick your ass if provoked, vocally speaking of course. Last Thursday I had the privilege of seeing this lovely legend at the Tulalip Amphitheatre along with her equally legendary opening act, Rick Springfield! It was like sharing two bottles of fine vintage wine with a few hundred friends. And let me tell ya, time has not diminished this edgy songbird one jot! At 61 years old, she still has the pipes of a lioness and can belt them out with the same ferocity as the day she recorded them. This was her 35th anniversary tour! Yup, Miss Benatar has been rockin' hard since 1979, which would mean I was only eight years old when she made her debut. One of the favorite stories from my childhood we love to recount in my family is about the day my neighbors saw my mother, completely unaware she had an audience, go flying past the living room window, furiously shaking her shimmy in synch with Pat's backup dancers to the song 'Love is a Battlefield.' She'd probably throw a hip out if she tried that now.

Pat and her guitar savant of a husband were not only celebrating 35 years as a band that night, but also celebrating 33 years of marriage! Not bad in an industry known for its philandering and flash-in-the-pan weddings! Pat and her nimble fingered hubby blasted the crowd with all the hits we've grown to love. 'Shadows of the Night,' 'Invincible,' 'Love is a Battlefield,' 'Hit Me With Your Best Shot,' 'Heartbreaker,' and 'Promises in the Dark.' It was a wonderful trip back through time.

Rick Springfield was no slouch as the opening act either. Even though he isn't a spring chicken any longer he still rocked out like a twenty-something. At one point he hopped off the stage and waded deep into the crowd to offer the microphone to anyone willing to sing a verse of 'Don't Talk to Strangers.' For his finale, he brought out Greg Giraldo, Pat's husband, to help him rock the crowd with the crown jewel of his hits, 'Jessie's Girl.' And rock them he did. The crowd of fifty-somethings folded up their walkers, set down their cocktails and went absolutely berserk!

Mr. Springfield joined Pat on stage to offer a little guitar backup on her last song as well. Apparently they're neighbors, or so Pat told us.

I learned some things about Ms. Benatar from this concert that I didn't know before. Did you know that she was the second person to be played by MTV at the dawn of its creation? The first, of course, was The Buggles with their singular hit 'Video Killed the Radio Star.' I also learned that Pat's career has not been im-mune to controversy. The sordid tale goes like this. One day Pat was reading an article about child abuse that really touched her. The name of the article was 'Hell is for Children.' Inspired by the cause and wanting to make a statement to bring the subject into the public eye, she sat down and wrote the hit song by the same name. But apparently some cross-eyed religious busybodies who never bothered to read the lyrics to find out what the song was actually about began burning copies of the hit single and making a huge stink to defame the rock legend. Going off of the title alone, they thought the song was literally about condemning chil-dren to Hell rather than its real intent of protecting children. It seems Pat wouldn't be the legend she is without a little controversy and a crowd of religious whack jobs trying to smear her name. In this writer's opinion, that's the hallmark of a true rock and roller. After all, it isn't what they say about you that matters. It's when they stop talking that you worry, right?

All in all, it was a wonderful evening. It felt like visiting an old friend. I count myself as being truly fortunate to have been able to bask in the awe of this hard-rockin, legendary lady at least once. Pat, you have always been part of the soundtrack of my life and always will be.

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