Blondie performing their Against All Odds tour at The Motorpoint Arena Nottingham on Thursday 5th May 2022

Review by Kevin Cooper

Blondie finally made their long awaited return to The Motorpoint Arena on Thursday night with their Against All Odds tour, which certainly lived up to its name. Announced during Covid, dates were rescheduled with Johnny Marr replacing the original support act Garbage and co-founder and guitarist Chris Stein announcing that due to an irregular heartbeat, he had to stay home.

But the night kicked off with an eleven song set from Marr and his four piece band that really got the crowd warmed up with a mixture of his own songs from his recent release, Fever Dreams Pts 1-4 along with classics from The Smiths.

He moved from the likes of Panic and This Charming Man to the plaintive Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want which pulled at the heartstrings. There was his very catchy solo song Easy Money before he ended with a joyful extended version of There Is a Light That Never Goes Out. This was a guest slot that fully deserved its standing ovation.

As Blondie came on stage, giant screens behind them played impressive pop art style visuals and with Debbie Harry looking resplendent in bright orange, they kicked off their two hour set list by showing off their punk credentials with X Offender before following up with a punchy version of Hanging On The Telephone.

With Harry was original member Clem Burke who’s powerhouse drumming is always a thing of wonder, and when accompanied by former Sex Pistol Glen Matlock on bass and younger players Matt Katz-Bohen on keyboards and Tommy Kessler and Andee Blacksugar on guitars, they are formidable live performers.

But it is 76 year old Harry who stole the show as she seamlessly delivered the hits. Sunday Girl had the crowd singing along and The Tide Is High with its roaring guitar solos and instrumental breakdowns was just a delight. A soulful rendition of Union City Blues was accompanied by the slower Shayla whilst Maria, their 1999 comeback chart topper, and Dreaming had the crowd hanging on her every word.

Their more recent material duly shone, like 2017’s evocative Long Time and the muscular My Monster which featured on their last album and fittingly was written by Marr. She even made Rapture look effortless as she impressively rattled off her rap with ease.

They finished their main set with a delirious rendition of Heart Of Glass that segued into Donna Summer’s I Feel Love, before the encore came with Fragments from their 2017 Pollinator and the classics Call Me with its extended drum solo and One Way Or Another which all elicited a predictably rowdy reaction.