Ah, Rapture

(Originally published on MOLI 11/19/7)

Forget the cheekbones: like mesas on a face that is Badlands wide. Forget the dance moves: would that my joints ever had such a lubricated swivel, let alone when I’m 62. Forget the garb: a black and white miniskirt outfit showing how fashion has still yet to catch up to the insouciant sexiness of new wave. What about the voice: Hitting high notes like a cat nonchalantly batting flies, Deborah Harry sounded pitch perfect November 16 at the Fillmore Miami Beach at the Jackie Gleason.

Harry was on tour with a band of four young lads promoting her new album, Necessary Evil. Most people were there to hear Blondie songs, of course. She obliged with acoustic versions of “The Tide Is High” and “Heart of Glass,” seeming a bit like she was bored to shreds. She also sang some of her lesser-known solo hits, like “French Kissing in the USA.”

But it was on new song “Two Times Blue” that Harry hit the highs with the same easy grace with which she exudes sexy-cool. If I could have just one drop of Harry’s ageless hipster sex-kitten juice, I’d be sated. But I bet I could still never ping those notes as if I were merely arching an eyebrow.

I was very skeptical when Live Nation — formerly known as Clear Channel’s concert production company — took over the Beach’s storied Jackie Gleason Theater and topped it with their Fillmore brand. The name and history of the Gleason personify Miami’s showbiz past (the Honeymooner shot The Jackie Gleason Show there); we don’t need no Haight-Ashbury vibe acid-raining on our hit parade. But Live Nation has given the mid-sized venue a decent makeover, and South Florida is ever in the quixotic search for a good concert hall. Acoustics and layout wise, the Gleason — I refuse to call it the Fillmore — fits the bill.

I’m also tired of yuppie rocker nostalgia being shoved down my throat Hard Rock-style with endless concert photos and memorabilia. It’s so Baudrillardesque, isn’t it: The music business is dying, but the simulacra of music is alive and well. Then again, if it takes a corporate monolith repackaging the counterculture to bring Harry to town, then can I have my tie-dyed concert T-shirt in a women’s medium please?


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