Blondie Whistler Stage, Pemberton BC, July 18

Blondie Whistler Stage, Pemberton BC, July 18
Photo: JPG Photography
Reports have indicated that Blondie's 40th anniversary tour this year might be their last, so it's only fitting that their Friday afternoon set at the Whistler Stage emphasized nostalgia. As the clouds gathered and a breeze blew across the festival grounds, the band got things off to an energetic start with "One Way or Another."

This established the tone for the performance, in which the hits were explosive highlights and the lesser-known material didn't make much of an impression. In an apparent effort to include more well-known material in the set list, the group performed a faithful rendition of the Beastie Boys' "(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party)," and frontwoman Debbie Harry struggled to hit the high notes on a woeful version of "Groove Is in the Heart."

This pitchy disaster was a rare flub for the 69-year old vocalist, however, whose voice held up well on most of the band's own material. She wore a platinum blonde wig, and although her stiff dance moves betrayed her age, she made charming banter about the adjacent campgrounds, commenting, "It must be very sexy in those tents." In a heartfelt moment, she paid tribute to the recently deceased Tommy Ramone by leading her bandmates in a punchy cover of "Havana Affair" by the Ramones.

The band matches the singer's gusto, keeping things tight and energetic over the 80-minute performance. So even though Blondie's nostalgia trip was a little uneven, it gave everyone a chance to flip out for "Call Me" and "Heart of Glass." Mission accomplished.

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