As key innovators in the evolution of both music and fashion, the excitement still generated by any new release by Blondie pays testament to their unmistakeable magic as a group.
Their story is one that’s been aired a million times over and never fails to capture the imagination. Yet sitting through this DVD of their final show (before their late-nineties comeback) is a bit like re-living the death of a loved one.
From the moment that one-time glamour-kitten Debbie Harry takes to the stage in tragically over-manicured attire, to the closing death cry of Call Me, this is not really a document you can have a good time to, but certainly one that makes you muse on the enigmatic ebb of creativity.
For a band who pioneered image along with substance as punk evolved into a far broader art-form, Harry’s hair is a sure sign that the new wave inspiration that had fuelled their rise to fame has gone, and it’s a terminal state you’re in when not even songs like Hanging on the Telephone and Heart of Glass can hit any kind of mark.
Obviously at the end of her tether, Harry couldn’t even be bothered to have her roots done for this last hoorah, but to her credit she at least strives to the end for some, any kind of inspiration.
Of course the band split for a reason, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that their last show together was a bit of a nightmare, but it’s still truly sad to see the depths of apathy to which they actually sunk.
With Harry’s rendition of One Way Or Another tantamount to creative suicide, an empty stomp through the Rolling Stones' Start Me Up takes the show to new lows, at which point you realise that this was a band that had totally forgotten what they were.
"Happy birthday to HBO," Harry announces after a striving Call Me, and all the style and rebellion that made her great is buried right there. Blondie were such innovators in what was the first wave of new wave that they can be forgiven for running out of energy in such a dire manner, but even they themselves will be saddened to see dirty washing hung out in public like this.
The bands Blondie spawned since will continue to thank them for the key part they played in liberating punk from its horribly constricting prosaicness, and as the new wavers (and ravers) continue to come thick and fast, their legend still grows. Sadly this farewell concert is more consumerist waste than essential merchandise. Surely there’s enough of that to go around as it is.