Deborah Harry " coolness without effort
December 2, 2007
ASPEN ” In the middle of singing an acoustic version of Blondie’s 1980 hit “The Tide Is High” ” a song about patience and perseverance ” Friday night at Belly Up Aspen, Deborah Harry asked, “What does time mean to someone who lives in these mountains?”
Harry, still the lead singer of Blondie but who was performing under her own name in Aspen, doesn’t live in the mountains. She’s a New Yorker through and through ” in fact, for many, she is the personification of a particular New York, the seedy but electric downtown Manhattan of the punk/ New Wave era. But for Harry, too, time seems to be something that has simply passed her by, without leaving much of a mark.
In her Belly Up gig, backed by four much younger musicians, Harry didn’t seem far removed from the Blondie heyday of the late ’70s and early ’80s. Her clothes were tight and skimpy; her mood was vampy, playful and full of good humor. She moved as well as anyone on the packed dance floor, whose occupants leaned more toward the current crop of clubgoers than those looking for a nostalgic hit of the New Wave days.
Harry, at 62, wears her coolness without effort. There is no striving here to replay the old days. The first handful of songs were all new, from her outstanding album “Necessary Evil,” released in September, and the crowd responded to them as though they were the Blondie radio hits that still endure. The songs, too, don’t give a hint to being aware of the singer’s having aged. The chorus to “Two Times Blue,” the captivating dance single that opens the album, finds Harry as confident as ever: “I know, yes I know/ You’ll be two times blue if I go.”
It’s just as Harry promised nearly three decades ago: She’s not the kind of girl who gives up just like that. Nope. She’s not giving up at all.
Stewart Oksenhorn’s e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org