(Mr. Pat Benatar)
House Of Blues - 7 July 98
|The first time I saw Neil
Giraldo was on Pat Benatar's first tour in 1979 at the
Tampa theatre (in Tampa FL...imagine that!!!). My wife
had to talk me into going to see Pat Benatar, but the
ticket was only $1.95 due to a radio promotion by one of
the rock stations in the area so I relented. Punk Rock
was just beginning to raise its ugly head and the opening
act was Tampa's "best" punk band at the time. I
forget their name but my reaction was "I paid $1.95
for THIS!!!!". They were just about the worst band I
had ever seen or heard. Anyway after about 45 minutes of
pure noise, Pat Benatar and her backing band with Neil
Giraldo on lead guitar came out and literally blew me
away. My wife and I left feeling like we got the bargain
of the century. Neil was awesome, and I was really
impressed with his playing and guitar style. I have since
gone to see both of them numerous times including the
famous "passing out in the middle of the show"
concert at Lakeland Civic Center. At that time the band
and Neil Giraldo just kept on playing and really did some
good guitar work.
Pat Benatar show from the House Of Blues 7 July 1998
Pat's voice doesn't quite have the range from her early days, but it's still very strong and her newer songs have matured with her voice. Her last CD, "Innamorata", is an excellent album, with a broad range of styles from rocking to introspective. One of the best songs on the album, and the most requested song of Pat Benatar's live set, is an acoustic ballad called "Papa's Roses", which was done with just a single vocal and acoustic guitar. This was one of the highlights of the set.
Pat Benatar's longtime guitarist and husband Neil Giraldo, also known by the nickname "Spyder", switched guitars multiple times during the set, switching from a metalflake custom guitar to acoustic depending on the type of song. At the last HOB show a few months back, Neil mentioned that the custom guitar was built by a fan and given to him as a present. Neil Giraldo is one great guitar player, a veteran of studio work, and has played on every Pat Benatar album from the beginning. They will be celebrating (according to Neil) their 20th anniversary next year and releasing a four CD box set with classic songs, outtakes and never released material.
The sound mix during the night was
really all over the place. The vocals were excellent all
night long, however the music mix varied from excellent
to muddied. Mostly the lead guitar was low in the mix and
not up front where a lot of the songs needed it.