Review: Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo Together at The Amp in Pompano Beach
On Sunday, May 22, rock icons Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo made the final tour stop of their “De Novo” Tour at The Pompano Beach Amphitheater, delivering a non-stop set of nearly every song from the duo’s storied catalog of hits.
As soon as the lights came on, the nearly sold-out crowd of 3,000 music-loving fans came to their feet with a rousing welcome of cheers and whistles as the band took their places on stage. Without hesitation they quickly got into opening tune “We Live For Love,” which immediately hooked the crowd. Without pause, they transitioned into bluesy guitar-driven ditty “All Fired Up” that highlights Benatar’s recognized raspy vocal style, engaging the crowd in a singalong that set the pace for the rest of the night.
Benatar made it clear she was happy to be there. After all, the tour had been on and off for the past 18 months due to the pandemic, as she asked, “Can you believe we are finally out?” One thing is clear: Benatar hasn’t lost her edgy, badass, take-no-prisoners approach and isn’t afraid to speak what’s on her mind.
They continued with 1997’s “Strawberry Wine,” the acoustic-driven tune where Benatar showcased her strong mezzo-soprano vocal ability.
Benatar reminded the audience that this year marks her 42nd anniversary playing music with husband “Spyder,” as she calls him, and that the powerhouse duo have also celebrated 40 years together as a married couple. Benatar and Giraldo married in 1982 and have two adult daughters, Haley Giraldo and Hana Giraldo. Together they have released 12 studio albums, with the last being Go (2003).
From there they got into “Promises in the Dark,” which Benatar declared was the first song she and Spyder penned together in 1981. The song starts off with a low-key, soothing tone before the beat kicks into overdrive. In this song, Giraldo breaks off into a brief guitar solo that proved he still likes to rock out like he did when that song was released over 40 years ago. It didn’t take long for fans to join in and sing the tune nearly word for word.
It seems like the time away from touring during the nearly two-year pandemic, gave Benatar a chance to reflect on what’s truly important. “We are here to celebrate,” she yelled as the crowd nodded their heads in agreement.
Now at the midpoint of the show with the crowd now fully engaged, Benatar and Giraldo got into the fan-favorite emotional ballad “We Belong” that had the crowd waving their cell phones from side to side. It was pure, and it was raw, perhaps even the highlight of the night, because this song truly showcased Benatar’s still-powerful voice.
Benatar, who is a self-proclaimed history buff, stated “History is my thing, and I study it.” She continued to demonstrate her vocal prowess, stirring the emotions of the crowd when she got into 1997’s “Purgatory.”
Digging deeper into their catalog, the band transitioned into one of Benatar’s earliest hits, 1980’s “Hell Is for Children,” where the crowd once again knew the lyrics and joined in with a sing-along serving as the chorus to one of their most recognized songs. Next up was 1980 radio mega-hit “Hit Me With Your Best Shot,” which became the anthem of the evening and a neat crowd sing-along where they were reciting the lyrics verbatim. “That was fantastic,” Benatar praised the fans for joining her. She closed with her signature tune “Love Is a Battlefield,” which was spot-on pitch-perfect vocally.
The crowd wasn’t done. For many it has been many years since they last saw Benatar and Giraldo live; for some it was their first time seeing the rock icons, and they demanded more. After playing a ten-song set, they waved goodbye and thanked the crowd for coming as they briefly walked off stage and took a minute to catch their breaths. The chants, whistles, and pleas were relentless. Of course, they obliged and came out for the encore.
With the players returning to their places, the drum strike kicked off the encore with 1997 bluesy tune “River of Love,” followed by 1993 hit “Everybody Lay Down,” and they closed the show with perhaps Benatar’s most recognized tune “Heartbreaker” (Jenny Darren cover).
Fans of the rockers will have a chance to finally celebrate a long-awaited honor that has been a point of contention with longtime fans of the duo. Giraldo, known for his blues guitar playing style will be returning home to Cleveland this winter where he and Benatar will (finally) be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in November, an honor that is long overdue.
Overall, Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo delivered a breathtaking performance at The Amp in Pompano Beach. The duo put skeptics in their place and proved that with age, her mezzo-soprano voice has remained powerful. The “De Novo” show at The Amp was absolutely delightful and left the audience completely satisfied. They played the hits. If you get a chance to catch the dynamic duo, they come strongly recommended. To catch the powerhouse duo on the road this summer check out their website, Facebook page and Instagram.
The Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo show at The Amp received an A rating. Outstanding.
Former Bad English and The Babys frontman John Waite opened for Benatar & Giraldo, playing an acoustic set that included a full band with two acoustics and one electric bass along with a drummer. Waite still has the vocal chops to belt out his most-recognized tunes.
Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo Setlist
We Live for Love, All Fired Up (Rattling Sabres cover), Strawberry Wine, Promises in the Dark, We Belong
(Lowen & Navarro cover), Purgatory, Invincible, Hell Is for Children, You Better Run (The Young Rascals cover), Hit Me with Your Best Shot, Love Is a Battlefield, Encore: River of Love, Everybody Lay Down, Heartbreaker (Jenny Darren cover)
John Waite Setlist
Change (Spider cover), When I See You Smile (Bad English song), Missing You, Whenever You Come Around (Vince Gill cover), Head First (The Babys song), Whole Lotta Love (Led Zeppelin cover)