Five thoughts: Blondie and Garbage at the Pearl (July 8)

Debbie Harry leads Blondie through its night-closing set July 8 at the Pearl.
Photo: Edison Graff/Stardust Fallout

1. Although the heights of their popularity occurred about 20 years apart, Blondie and Garbage proved to be a surprisingly smart co-headlining pair. The Pearl was packed for Garbage’s 70-minute set and remained so for Blondie’s slightly longer closing set, with equally strong crowd response for both bands. Even though they achieved success in different eras, the two acts have plenty in common, both mixing rock music with dance-friendly sounds, led by charismatic female singers with unique senses of style.

2. Garbage singer Shirley Manson had the more energetic and engaging stage presence, performing in a sparkly, sequined pink-gold gown that made her look like a punk-rock prom queen, writhing on the stage while delivering classic angst anthems “Stupid Girl” and “Only Happy When It Rains.” To be fair, Blondie singer Debbie Harry is 72, so it’s no surprise that she’s a little slower, but her vocals were inconsistent and her stage banter was rambling, although her fashion sense (including a cape with the words “Stop f*cking the planet”) was still striking.

3. Both bands delivered musically, with Garbage’s Steve Marker and Duke Erikson switching nimbly between guitars and keyboards throughout the band’s set, and original Blondie members Harry, Chris Stein and Clem Burke augmented by a strong trio of more recent recruits. Burke remains a powerhouse drummer, and a show highlight featured vintage performance video of him as he pounded through a drum-solo outro on new song “Fun.”

4. With set times shorter than typical headlining slots, both bands balanced hits with newer songs and deep cuts, maximizing the chance of reaching casual fans who may have been in attendance to catch the other group. Garbage opened with new single “No Horses” and played three songs from last year’s Strange Little Birds, while Blondie played five songs from new album Pollinator alongside classics like “Rapture” and “Heart of Glass.”

5. Although Manson and Harry have been friends for years (Manson inducted Blondie into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006) and sparked the idea for the joint tour, there were no onstage collaborations between the two women or their bandmates. This was just the third stop on the tour, though, so maybe the two groups can get around to a team-up eventually. It makes a surprising amount of sense.

Garbage setlist:

“No Horses”


“#1 Crush”


“I Think I’m Paranoid”

“Cherry Lips (Go Baby Go!)”



“Cup of Coffee”

“Even Though Our Love Is Doomed”

“The World Is Not Enough”

“Stupid Girl”

“Only Happy When It Rains”

“Push It”


Blondie setlist:

“One Way or Another”

“Hanging on the Telephone”


“Call Me”

“My Monster”

“In the Flesh”


“Rainy Day Women #12 & 35”


“Long Time”


“Too Much”

“Heart of Glass”


“Union City Blue”


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