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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August 20, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 34
Blondie and B-52s bring the '80s to Woodinville
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
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Blondie and B-52s bring the '80s to Woodinville

by Eric Andrews-Katz - SGN Contributing Writer

Blondie and The B-52s
August 12
Chateau Ste. Michelle
Winery, Woodinville


The '80s returned to Woodinville on Thursday, August 12. At the stage located at the Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery, Blondie and The B-52s, two of the greatest long-time bands, appeared together. The natural outdoor setting provided an excellent platform for the two giants, who seemed to enjoy themselves as much as their audience.

Promptly and without fanfare, The B-52s took the stage almost unnoticed until the first chords of "Wig" cut the air. For the next hour, the group performed some of their greatest classics ("Private Idaho," "Cosmic Thing," and "Mesopotamia") as well as some of their later hits ("Funplex," "Love in the Year 3000"). The B-52s (the apostrophe was officially dropped in 2008) started off in 1976 at Atlanta, Georgia's Deadbeat Club. The group originally consisted of Fred Schneider (vocals/percussion), Kate Pierson (vocals/keyboards), Keith Strickland (drums), and the sister/brother team of Cindy (vocals) and Ricky (guitar) Wilson. The group's sound - a mixture of new wave and post-punk rock 'n' roll with a touch of camp - was something completely new and different. When the song "Rock Lobster" became a success in 1978, the group was established. After privately suffering with HIV/AIDS, Ricky Wilson succumbed at the age of 32 in 1985. In the year following, the group secluded themselves, finally emerging with the album Cosmic Thing in 1989. The album introducing the hits "Love Shack" and "Roam."

At the Chateau Ste Michelle, the group chose to finish the concert with "Planet Claire." Two encores were delivered to a demanding crowd: "Love Shack" and "Rock Lobster." The B-52s have released more than seven studio CDs, their latest being Funplex in 2008. After a short hiatus, the next group took the stage.

Blondie came onto the Chateau's stage to unanimous cheering. Debbie Harry's traditional platinum look was easy to recognize, as was her original guitarist Chris Stein, who helped start the band in 1975. Opening with "D-Day" (one of five new songs of the night), the band went into the familiar "Hanging on the Telephone" and completely held the audience's attention. The band's name comes from a catcall Harry received for her colored tresses, and the nickname stuck. The former Playboy bunny got her first major break as lead vocalist for Blondie by complete mistake. Her song "In the Flesh" was mistakenly played on Australian television, with successful results. In 1976, with an early hold on the new wave and punk scenes, their self-titled debut album contained three hits, launching a long and illustrious career.

At the Chateau, Harry pre-announced the song "Maria" by dedicating it to "all the girls in the audience. & And some of the boys, as well." By the time "Call Me" was played, people were dancing not only in their seats, but in the aisles. The drums that announced "Atomic" had the audience erupting with another yell that continued through the next set of classic Blondie hits: "The Tide is High," "Rapture," "Call Me," and ending with "One Way Or Another." The audience demanded more, and the group made a quick return. Two encores followed: "Break Your Heart" and the quintessential Blondie classic, "Heart of Glass." Blondie has released over eight studio CDs and has earned two Grammy Award and two Juno Award nominations with one win. As a solo artist, Harry has released five studio CDs. Currently, there are five compilation CDs.

The Chateau Ste. Michelle winery houses more than just a summer concert series (www.ste-michelle.com/events/concerts), as it offers tours of the winery itself. Two sets of seating are available for stage productions: private reserved chairs and first-come-first-claim green grounds. Food and beverages are permitted to be brought on the property, but no outside alcohol is allowed. Various bottles of wine - either red or white - are available for purchase, as are a limited number of food items from several vendors.

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