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Billy Joel with Chainsaw and Blondie does Hollywood in Quebec City

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Last nights performance on the Plains of Abraham was not without it’s surprises.  Billy Joel and Blondie played to a packed enthusiastic crowd of baby boomers, covering everything from AC DC to The Misfits.

Blondie 8/10

Cred: FTF Photography

Cred: FTF Photography

Now at the age of 69 “Debbie Harry” aka Blondie still has that teen age angst from many decades ago.

“It’s so great to be here, we’ve been on the road for awhile and this is our last show for awhile, so this is a real exciting evening for all of us, thank you very much.  We are Blondie, we are celebrating our 40th anniversary and thanks to a lot of you our music has carried on”

The show was packed with many of the bands well known classics including: ‘Call Me’, ‘Heart Of Glass’, ‘One Way Or Another’ and ‘Rapture’, which featured an impressive guitar solo from Chris Stein.

When things seemed to be going par for the course, a strange keyboard phasing effect came through the speakers and the band broke into the new song ‘Euphoria’.   Blondie managed to sandwich in a few more from their latest effort ‘Ghosts Of Download’ in-between the hits, including ‘Rave’ ‘Mile High’ and ‘Sugar On The Side’.

Blondie is touring their new album.   There’s no question that the band is in a progressive state, still growing and still creating new music, instead of just playing the hits for a pay check.

However the highlights of the set were the three covers that appeared: The Bestie Boys ” Fight For Your Righ’, ‘Groove is in the Heart” by super group 90s one hit wonder Deee-Lite and ‘Hollywood Babylon’ by the Misfits which ended the set.  It would have been nice to see Blondie a little longer as the set was cut short from the planned ending of the 1979 “Dreaming” which the band used to close out show in Ottawa the night before.

Billy Joel 9/10

Cred: FTF Photography

Cred: FTF Photography

Billy Joel played a full set of classics that spanned two and half hours including a full encore.  

“Bon soir Quebec! Je suis Billy Joel, this is a nice town! 50 years I’ve been doing this friggin job, I’ve never been here!

While most of the show was packed with well known earlier works, Joel managed to pull out a few surprises and typical New York style humor throughout the set.

After using what Joel described as the old ‘throat spray’  he went on to crack a joke about Ted Nugent:

“I’m gonna use the old throat spray here, I don’t have a cold its just this is supposed to be helping me sing.   I saw Ted Nugent use this once, it didn’t really make him sound any better but then again he wasn’t spraying it up his ass.”   it’s a gag that he’s been using on this tour using Madonna as the target earlier on in the year.

One highlight of the night was the silky trumpet solo on Zanzibar by Carl Fisher followed by a curious intro where Joel threw in the opening melody to “Clair De Lune” by Debussy, perhaps as a nod to the French,before leading into a stellar performance of Vienna.

Big hits ‘New York State Of Mind’, ‘Piano Man’ and ‘Uptown’ came later in the set, there was also a perfect cover of The Beatles “A Hard Days Night”.   But the major single thing that stood out the most was when Billy Joel grabbed a guitar and long time roadie “Chainsaw” came out on stage to sing AC DCs ‘Highway to Hell’.     The bit has been happening at Billy Joel concerts since around 2006, with lead singer Brian Johnson joining Joel on stage at a concert in Madison Square gardens in March of this year.

Rick “Chainsaw” LaPointe is a long time guitar tech for Billy Joel who’s been in the business for over 30 years.   He’s from Chicago and has toured with and sang vocals on stage with Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen and AC/DC.   As odd as it may sound, this bit was actually perfectly placed in between ‘New York State Of Mind’ and “Movin Out” to give the audience a much needed energy boost. Chainsaw can sing! It worked perfectly as the audience ate it up.

Joel finished his set with his signature hit ‘Piano Man’ which had the crowd roaring for more.  The expected encore consisted of: ‘Uptown’, ‘Big Shot’, ‘You May Be Right’ follow by ‘Only The Good’ to close out a spectacular night.

By: Darrell Shelley


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