Last Night: Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo at Stafford Centre
If you grew up during a particular window of the early 1980s, there were certain things you couldn't escape: economic malaise, the San Francisco 49ers, and MTV. If you were an early enough adopter of Music Television, you were more than familiar with the likes of Triumph, April Wine, and .38 Special.
But you were probably even more aware of Patricia Andrzejewski, known colloquially as Pat Benatar. Everybody knows the Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star" was the first video aired on MTV, but not as many realize the second was Benatar's "You Better Run," or that Benatar's husband of 31 years (and collaborator for even more), Neil Giraldo, was the first guitarist featured on the network as well.
It helps explain why he's now sharing a bill with his much more recognizable wife, and the pair's Sonny and Cher vibe helped guide what Benatar described as an "unstructured evening" of songs.
She (they) opened with "All Fired Up," Benatar's last charting single, from 1988's Wide Awake In Dreamland, kicking off a somewhat perfunctory 13-song set, all but two of which a recognizable '80s classic. The Stafford Centre crowd came somewhat to its feet for the first time for the second song, "Invincible" (we're getting old, people). Must have been a lot of Legend of Billie Jean fans in attendance.
The Stafford Centre may seem like an odd joint for an artist who just in the last year has shared amphitheater gigs with the likes of Loverboy and Journey, but the intimate setting and relatively remote (for Inner Loopers) location served her well. Benatar was able to connect with most of us on the floor (I was fairly certain "Sex as a Weapon" was directed at me, and with good reason) while Giraldo was able to flip guitar picks Rick Nielsen-style to anyone interested.
And really, who hasn't always wanted a Neil Giraldo pick?