Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo at The Paramount in Huntington, NY (Photo: Marilyn Lara)

The Holy 14. Diehard fans of Pat Benatar are exceedingly familiar with the aptly-titled term, which refers to the healthy number of Top-40 hits that the mega-successful crooner has amassed throughout her illustrious, nearly 40-year career. Along with her often overlooked, yet immensely important, songwriting partner – and husband – Neil Giraldo on guitar, Benatar created the tongue-in-cheek list to describe those songs which she feels she must perform a significant percentage of at every gig. And when she fails to represent enough of her popular tunes, the complaints never seem to subside.

For her current string of shows, however, the rule has fallen by the wayside. Officially dubbed “A Very Intimate Acoustic Evening,” Benatar has temporarily shelved her full band and replaced it with a stripped down, relaxed setting that allows concertgoers to fully enjoy and focus on her glorious instrument – her voice.

Pat Benatar

While a few of her well-known hits were certainly sprinkled in during the Brooklyn-born singer’s packed performance on April 11 at The Paramount in Huntington, NY, it was clearly not the essence of the evening. Concentrating on the engrossing tales behind many of the pair’s compositions, Benatar and Giraldo traded off providing the backstories of lesser known tracks like “Promises In The Dark,” “In These Times,” and the brand new “After The Fall,” complementing each other seamlessly.

Before launching into the infectious “We Belong,” Giraldo revealed the interesting tidbit that when the duo sets out to pen a number, one of their primary goals is to grab the listener with a memorable opening hook. Proclaiming that every person in attendance would know its identity at the first note, he was proved correct, as the club erupted with delight on cue.

Neil Giraldo on guitar

The epic, MTV-driven “Love Is A Battlefield,” heightened by a novel, intricate arrangement, closed out the initial portion of the 90-minute set before the twosome returned to the stage for a rousing encore consisting of a mashup of fan favorite “Heartbreaker,” the Johnny Cash gem “Ring Of Fire,” and an obscure Roky Erickson cover of  “Don’t Slander Me.”

Although the majority of the set translated well in the bare bones environment, perhaps most impressive was Benatar’s rendition of the challenging “We Live for Love,” off of her debut album, In The Heat Of The Night. With a chorus originally sung beautifully in soprano, her vocals were as pristine and flawless as they were back in 1979.

A Very Intimate Acoustic Evening with Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo

In an era in which talent often seems to take a backseat to image, Pat Benatar has stood the test of time. Officially a senior citizen at 65 years old, doing no-frills shows like these proves the multi-talented musician can undoubtedly hold her own with artists half her age.

And maybe most refreshing of all is the fact that she hasn’t lost her edge. When offering up the news that they were about to become grandparents for the first time, Giraldo promised to teach his granddaughter how to play the guitar. But it was Benatar’s proclamation that summed up her career perfectly – “I’m going to teach her how to be a badass!”

Setlist:

  1. All Fired Up
  2. We Live For Love
  3. Promises In The Dark
  4. Run Between The Raindrops
  5. We Belong
  6. In These Times
  7. You Better Run
  8. After The Fall
  9. Invincible
  10. Ties That Bind
  11. Love Is A Battlefield
  12. Heartbreaker
  13. Ring Of Fire
  14. Don’t Slander Me

Click here for upcoming shows at The Paramount.

Click here for Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo’s tour dates.

Joe Puccio

Joe Puccio is a lifelong fanatic of the three essential tools to living a fulfilling and satisfying life: professional wrestling, hard rock, and horror. He resides on Long Island, N.Y. with his wife and two kids...aka Penny the cat and Lucy the dog.