Fans, Venue, All Ears As Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo Rock The Corn Palace in Mitchell Friday Night
From the opening notes of 'Promises in the Dark' through the final note of 'Heartbreaker', Pat Benatar and her guitar-playing husband and music partner for the past 35 years, Neil Giraldo, took the 2500 of us in attendance on a trip back through the late 70's and 1980's Friday night at the Corn Palace Festival in Mitchell.
The decidedly 'mature' audience had a great time during the 90 minute set as the ladies were transported back to a time of singing into their hairbrush in front of a mirror while the 16-year old boys in us men fell in love with the tiny girl with the giant voice all over again.
The show opened with a five minute movie of Pat & Neil's lives from their school aged days through their start in the music business (I had no idea that Neil beat out 200 guitarists in 1978 to be in Rick Derringer's band before last night) through their first meeting, through last night, just over 35 years after their first meeting and 32 years married. It was a fun way to let everyone in on the backstory without filling the show with too many stories.
The last couple of times I had seen them perform were in casinos and the shows were more storyteller-type shows, a lot of the duo sitting on stools, stripping down the classics. They were fine as Neil is a fantastic guitar player (the tone in that guys guitar last night was fantastic!) and Pat's voice has never left her (and at 61, she looks and sounds amazing). So I went into the show expecting the same vibe Friday night. What we got was a great rock show. I don't believe they did more than two songs seated. The rest of the night was hit after hit: "All Fired Up", "You Better Run", "Hell Is For Children", "We Belong", "Invincible", "Promises In The Dark", "Shadows Of The Night", "Hit Me With Your Best Shot", I can't think of one song that I wanted to hear, that she didn't sing, and sing WELL.
Despite the festival doing assigned seats instead of general admission for the show (even at my age, I still think shows like this should allow you to stand down front) many of us DID stand through the majority of the show which didn't go unnoticed by Pat & Neil. They both had wide smiles on their faces all night and seemed to enjoy themselves as much as the appreciative crowd did. The sound was really good inside the Corn Palace, the beer was ice cold and very affordable, and the 'fair food' outside was just what we wanted to help kick off the weekend. Thank you Mitchell Corn Palace Festival for showing us a great time again. Can't wait to come back next year!