Written by Daniel Barker
Aug 13, 2010 at 08:00 PM
ImageIt is no average night for the rock ‘n roll faithful when the iconic Pat Benatar rolls into town stirring up nostalgia for a more simple time when everyone was less accessible but so much more connected.  On Friday the 13th, August 2010, the multi-platinum/multi-Grammy award winning artist that gave the females of the original MTV generation a voice was in Houston, Texas at The House of Blues with husband Neil Giraldo on guitar, long time bassist Mick Mahan and original drummer Myron Grombacher to celebrate where she has been and where she is going with a sold out audience.

If you were young in the 80’s there was no escaping Pat Benatar.  In 1979 thru early 1981, she blanketed what seems like today, a very limited media – FM radio, magazines and network television. However, when a new cable television station called Music Television (MTV) aired in August 1981 playing PB’s “You Better Run” as the second video ever it propelled here into an unforeseen “run” unlike any other female rocker in history.

With a look of sexy confidence and the sound of a vulnerable but scorned woman, most guys wanted to have sex with her and most girls wanted to be her. This lead to nearly every high school in America having look-a-likes roaming the halls ala Fast Times at Ridgemont High. No sprint here folks; this marathon produced two RIAA-certified Multi-Platinum albums, five RIAA-certified Platinum albums, three RIAA-certified old albums that included 19 Top 40 singles.

Well it is 2010 now and Pat Benatar is 57 years old with a recently published memoir in June. This night proved that this extremely talented couple has an amazing life which is filled to the gills with giving back. The House of Blues was packed with sweaty, rabid fans wanting to get their PB fix on. They would not be disappointed by this group that would take the fans from feeling like they were at a sold out stadium show to the inside of their living room and back again.

Any doubt that anyone at the show may have had about PB’s voice not being what is used to was kicked in the nuts and thrown down the stairs from her very first note. Looking great she matched her great band tit for tat. Neil “Spider” Giraldo proved song after song why this tour has been billed as Pat Benatar WITH ……… Playing intros on piano with a Stratocaster on his lap, controlling some type of audio effects all night, and just taking no prisoners on the axe all freaking night – acoustic and electric!!! He earned the right. The rhythm section knew their roll, laying back but holding it all together.

The stage was very stripped down this night.  Myron Grombacher played in a glass booth and Spider had all of his equipment lined up at the back of the stage including the pedal board which is very unique. Using minimal lighting and the lack of the now standard and often visually abusive white curtain imagery, the presentation was perfect for this venue.  The backbone were given a nice break during the middle of the set when the married due pulled up stools and treated the frenzy to a 3 song, warm storytellers acoustic set  before turning it back up to close out with the songs everyone had come for.

The sound was a little loud upfront but leveled off beautifully from the back or in the balcony. Many of the 19 hits were performed with intensity, “Hit Me With Your Best Shot”, Heartbreaker”, “We Belong Together”, and Promises In The Dark”. The standout of the night would have to be “Hell Is For Children”. A song that was very controversial in its day  – believe it or not.

Overall the show proved to be different than what might have come to be expected for a performer that reached their popularity peak over 20 years ago – a bank robbery style money grab with the tour bus doubling as a getaway car after running thru the hits in an hour. She did bust out the cheesy cell phone light in place of the good old Bic flame encore request but so what. PB and family offered a layered plan of attack that gave these multi-generation fans their money’s worth. And isn’t that what is all about?  Until next time, I will see you out supporting live music.