August 4, 2002
Chastain Park Amphitheater-Atlanta



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While David Lee Roth pretended it was still twenty or more years ago during his show across town at Hi-Fi Buys Amphitheater, Blondie brought a non-nostalgia show to Atlanta that proves that even though they’re not cruising the tops of the charts anymore, they can still create fresh new music and put new spins on the classics. The yet to be released opening song "Diamond Bridge" made it known immediately that this was not your typical retro show. Debbie Harry alternately smiled and sneered throughout this and "Screaming Skin" before switching to an even higher gear for "Hanging On The Telephone."  

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Most of the set was surprisingly heavy and punkish. Foregoing familiar hits like "The Tide Is High" and "Atomic" for smoking reads of "Detroit 442" and "War Child," the band tore through their catalog with a thunderous fury powered by Clem Burke's powerhouse drumming. Evoking Keith Moon, he flawlessly flailed through "Dreaming" and "One Way Or Another" as Debbie led the crowd through the de rigueur sing-a-longs.

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Never ones to play it by the books, the band surprised even their diehard fans with Blondie-fied takes of songs by other CBGB’s alums. Television's "See No Evil" was cool, but seeing Debbie adopt Joey's posture behind the mic for The Ramones' "Havana Affair" was even cooler. Even a monster like "Call Me" wasn't immune to being updated and packed with more venom than the original could've imagined. On this one, guitarist Chris Stein stood rooted in one spot, but he served up a more muscular batch of riffs for the American Gigolo theme song than on the recorded version. "One Way Or Another" was another standout. The rock/punk/pop/new wave gem bristled and nipped at the ear canals of everyone in the park. After a dark, intense "Fade Away And Radiate," the band turned Chastain into a disco for "Rapture." The audience had been seated for most of the show, but now everyone was up and dancing to the bass heavy hit that introduced rap to the pop charts back in 1981. They stayed up for the big finale of "Heart Of Glass" that found enough arms waving in the aisles to make one seasick. This show was a high-energy punch that bravely relied more on the power of the assembled musicians than the novelty of their hits from long ago.

(Chris McKay/

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Blondie set list (8-4-02):

1. Diamond Bridge
2. Screaming Skin
3. Dreaming
4. Hanging On The Telephone
5. Call Me
6. Detroit 442
7. Bike Boy
8. Havana Affair
9. Maria
10. Accidents Never Happen
11. Shayla/Union City Blue
12. Golden Rod
13. See No Evil
14. One Way Or Another
15. War Child
16. Fade Away And Radiate


17. Rapture
18. Heart Of Glass