Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Pat Benatar

Several months ago, I got one of my regular emails from the Carson Center in Paducah. Pat Benatar would be there (with husband Neil Giraldo) for their fortieth anniversary tour. Given that I like Pat Benatar and it was close, I jumped on their website and grabbed up two tickets. Donna had no interest in going, but Jonathan did.

In the interest of full disclosure, I had a pretty big crush on Pat Benatar in high school (along with Debbie Harry and Patty Smyth). I ended up with someone much better of course. Donna also does a much better rendition of “Fire and Ice” when we used to play the Rock Band video game. I saw Pat Benatar in concert when I was in college at the University of Kentucky. I was actually able to find out that she was there in February of 1983. I could even see the setlist she did plus I found out her opening act was some band named “Preview”. I didn’t even remember that at all. My efforts to find out anything about the band Preview proved fruitless. I did find out that I paid 10.50 for a lower level ticket in Rupp Arena. I paid a bit more than that for the Carson Center tickets.

The date of the concert came and we headed for downtown Paducah. I strategically parked in a parking lot so we could easily pull out into a side street and get out quickly. We were allowed to go in, but had to wait in the lobby until thirty minutes before the concert to enter. Jonathan’s comment (of course) was “Everybody here is old!”. He was pretty much right. We spent the time talking with our friends Greg and Sheri Sanderson. We finally got to go in. Our seats were excellent. We saw next to a lady we know from church. My old friend (and lawyer) Chuck Walter came up and we talked. Finally, the lights went down and the concert began.

The concert started exactly on time (7:30pm). I had noticed a large banner on the stage background reading “Benatar-Giraldo XL”. I couldn’t get the reference to “Extra Large” until (duh) I finally realized that it was the Roman Number representation of forty. Pat Benatar’s voice is just as good and strong as it was all those years ago (she actually had started to train as an opera singer in her youth). Neil Giraldo still does a great job on guitar. She sang most of her well-known songs. Jonathan even recognized some of them that he had not realized til then that she sang. She also sang a few of her “deep tracks” and even a couple that I didn’t remember. She also talked about her initial days and how her life had changed. She even brought up the fact that she was now a grandparent and how much she loved that (which I can certainly identify with). It made me chuckle to myself thinking of a young child at a Grandparent’s Day introducing their grandmother Pat Benatar.

She played for about one and half hours. Her encore was “Heartbreaker”. In the middle of that song, she started a rendition of the Johnny Cash song “Ring of Fire” which I’d never heard her do. Then, she went back into the end of “Heartbreaker”. It was an excellent concert especially considering the fact that I was back home in less than thirty minutes (as opposed to much longer drives from other venues). The only song that she didn’t do that I would have liked to hear? “Fire and Ice” – although it would have been disappointing compared to Donna’s rendition.