Live Gig Review and Photos by: Robert Cavuoto
Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo immediately set the bar high on Saturday night, July 29th at the 2017 QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning in Readington, NJ!
Pat and Neil were energetic and in touch with their audience’s desire to hear the hit songs that made them staples on MTV. The time-traveling experience covered the MTV video years from their three seminal albums; Crimes of Passion (1980), Precious Time (1981), and Get Nervous (1982). Pat told the crowd that this was their 38th year of being in the band. Hard to believe it’s been that long as both Pat and Neil appeared to be in fantastic shape.
Together they hit the stage with a sense of fury and purpose opening with “All Fired Up” and dove directly into the MTV-fueled years with a smoldering versions of “Shadows of the Night” “Invincible,” “Heartbreaker,” “Hit Me with your Best Shot,” “We Belong,” and “Hell is for Children.” In total, about 14 or 15 songs were played “The Holy 14” as Pat put it, “are the 14 songs that we must play or we will hear about it on Facebook.” They even did a few acoustic songs which included a newer tune, “Run Between the Rain Drops” which they dedicated to their daughter who recently married.
Pat’s voice was strong and sounded just as she did on her albums some 30 + years ago. She blew the roof off of the stage and her voice emanated to the furthest reaching parts of the packed lawn. Pat continues to prove she is one of the best female rock vocalists of our generation, when people look back they will rank alongside Janis Joplin, Tina Turner, and Stevie Nicks.
She tireless strutted the stage with an air of confidence and microphone in hand. Decked out in tight black leather pants, a flowing blouse, and high heels; she managed to use every inch of the stage. Pat delivered what fans came for and then some, as she drew the audience into the show not only with her singing but with her storytelling on the song’s history.
Neil is one of Rock’s strongest and most underrated guitarists, he was the icing on the cake and brought the songs to new levels with his playing. He looked dapper with his slicked back silver hair, black pin striped suit jacket, and armed with a Gibson Gold Top Les Paul.
They have an undeniable chemistry that goes beyond being married and transcends to the stage to complement the songs. All songs played had the same sex appeal as when they were recorded in the 80s. Pat and Neil continue to carry the torch for rock n’ roll offering songs with catchy melody, great hooks and played with a sense of passion. Their show is not to be missed.