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Let’s get one thing straight right away, Pat Benatar’s voice is still great. When some force was tapping people with abilities, they gave this five-foot tall dynamo vocal cords that can still belt out her hits more than forty years after her debut.  That’s right. Benatar’s debut album, In the Heat of the Night came out in 1979.

It’s also when she teamed up with Neil Giraldo who shares co-billing with her on tour. As he should. Giraldo has been her partner in Crimes of Passion, (Second album title pun), from the start of her successful career. And Giraldo’s role as guitarist, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and producer can’t be overstated (He’s also her husband.) The guitar sound in a Pat Benatar song is distinct. Each riff and each solo is designed to service the song and not just showcase Giraldo’s playing chops. Their recent concert at the City National Grove of Anaheim was most definitely the Pat and Neil show.

That being said, the fans were there to hear the hits. Hits that rely on Pat Benatar’s voice to deliver. And deliver she did. Opening with "All Fired Up", Benatar had the audience in her hands and on her side. More than once she mentioned how she missed this and needed this. Through hit after hit like "Invincible", "We Belong", "Hell is for Children", "You Better Run", "Love is a Battlefield", and "Hit Me With Your Best Shot", it was clear that the audience felt exactly the same way.

The encore featured the song that Benatar said started it all, "Heartbreaker". But it had a twist that she and Giraldo have been doing for a while. They break into Johnny Cash’s "Ring of Fire". It’s an interesting take and they make it work. That’s exactly what a strong partnership and marriage can accomplish.

At one point during the show, Benatar brought up how old they were when they met. She also said how long it’s been since they met. She then got a laugh when she told the audience not to do the math. But with a voice as timeless as hers and a musical partnership as strong as theirs, age is just a number.



Daniel Gray

Photojournalist - Los Angeles

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