If Stevie Nicks is considered the queen of rock, please make sure you don’t tell Pat Benatar this. Called the “We Live For Love” tour with hubby and guitarist Neil Giraldo, Benatar rocked it out for an hour and a half playing nothing but the hits that made her the goddess she is at the Pier Six Pavilion in Baltimore. But first, the iconic Toto took the stage before that happened on this co-headlining tour.
Steve Lukather and company took the stage first and put on a extraordinary performance that they have been doing for decades now. Once one of the best selling music groups in the early eighties, they opened with “Only The Children” off of 1988’s The Seventh One and lead singer Joseph Williams never sounded better. “Hold The Line” from the self titled first album was next and the crowd went bonkers with the first few notes from keyboardist David Paich and also sang along with the infamous line “Whoa,whoa,whoa” when it was time to. I was in eighties heaven. Even newer song “Great Expectations” was a hit with the crowd from 2015’s Toto XIV. The last three songs, “Rosanna,” “I’ll Supply The Love,” and “Africa,” need no introduction and the audience was more than satisfied with their incredible performance. Don’t tell Toto it’s 2017 because this band is showing no signs of slowing down any time soon.
Now it was time for Pat and Neil. A video on the monitor led things off showing a retrospective of how Benatar and Giraldo started off back in the late seventies, with Benatar in choir and learning to sing classical music to Giraldo starting off in Rick Derringer’s band before hooking up with Benatar and talking helm of the lead guitar role since day one. The video ended and the band surprisingly just appeared on stage and started playing “All Fired Up.” Benatar, now 64, sounded incredible and it was 1980 all over again. “We Live For Love” was next followed by “Invincible.” Giraldo, quite possibly the most under rated best guitarist of all time, was superb, not missing a note and rocking out to each and every song they did. More hits followed; “Promises In The Dark,” “We Belong,” and “Hell Is For Children.” The crowd were dancing and singing in their seats to each and every song. “You Better Run” was next and Benatar reminded the fans that this song was the second video ever played on MTV, which even I had forgotten. She ended the night with “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” and a medley of “Heatbreaker” and other hits. Having never got the chance to see her perform live until now, I was left with one thought: Why isn’t she a Hall of Famer yet? I’d imagine her time is coming real soon after witnessing in person one of the most, if not the most, heralding leading women of rock perform a great show.
Look for Toto to release an new album in 2018. Pat and Neil haven’t done a new studio album since 2003’s Go unfortunately, but I see her still wanting to tour and play for us in the coming years for as long as she wants.
Pat Benatar @ Pier Six Pavilion
Toto @ Pier Six Pavilion