Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo Get Westbury All Fired Up
On Jan. 25, rock sensation Pat Benatar and her husband, Neil Giraldo, performed at the NYCB Theatre at Westbury, Long Island, an iconic venue that is dear to her heart since she grew up in Lindenhurst. This was a benefit concert where the proceeds benefit the Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund.
Throughout her career, Pat Benatar has won four Grammy awards and she has helped pave the way for such female vocalists as Mariah Carey, Martina McBride, among countless others.
She commenced her set with “All Fired Up,” where she showcased her trademark pipes and impressive range.
As the stage was graced in a red backdrop, she followed it up with her empowering “Invincible” and took the time to greet the Long Island audience.
“Well, hey! How are you doing out there?” she asked the crowd. “It is snowing outside. We are happy to be here and we are happy that you all showed up. This is a night for a celebration. We will have some fun.”
She continued with “So Sincere,” which is the closing track of her debut studio album.
After belting out “River of Love,” she noted that she and her husband, Neil, who is also known as “Spyder,” have been married for 31 years and that when they first starting writing songs together, they were inspired by other people’s experiences. As the years went on, they added that their songs got more personal and were subsequently based on their own experiences.
Equally powerful was her rendition of “Promises in the Dark,” for which she garnered a standing ovation.
“This is the part of the show where we get to sit down because we’re old,” Pat said with a laugh as she sat on a stool.
“How are you all doing tonight?” Neil asked. “I feel like an adopted son of Long Island,” he added.
One of the most controlled vocals of the evening was “We Belong,” which commenced with her mellifluous humming and turned into a true vocal event, which resulted in theatergoers waving their hands up in the air and singing along to the classic rock ballad.
“Thank you,” Pat exclaimed and she blew a kiss to the crowd.
Pat noted that in 1981, her song “You Better Run” from her “Crimes of Passion” album was the second video ever aired on MTV and that her husband, “Spyder” was the first guitarist to ever play on MTV, which is quite a remarkable accomplishment.
She managed to get the NYCB Theatre at Westbury to put on their “dancing shoes” as she sang her signature song “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” and her Grammy-winning hit “Love Is a Battlefield,” as the stage was graced in a green backdrop.
“Thank you,” the rock queen said and brought out several Lindenhurst dignitaries and local fire department officials on stage with her. These individuals played a major role for the town as it was severely impacted by Hurricane Sandy.
The mayor of Lindenhurst honored Pat and Neil and proclaimed the followed day, “Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo Day” in their town. Particularly impressive about that proclamation was that its wording included twenty-three of her song titles.
For their encore, they returned and she sang “Let’s Stay Together” and it was followed up with a medley of “Heartbreaker” and Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire.”
They thanked their fans for coming out and reminded them to “be good” to everyone. Pat also underscored the importance of refraining from drinking and driving. “See you guys soon. I am so happy to spend the night with you,” she concluded.
“Pat Benatar was amazing,” stated Barbara Goldsmith, a huge fan of the rock songstress and attendee. “Her voice still sounds as it did in the 80s and Spyder is still the best guitar player I’ve ever heard.”
According to Christine Nagy, the esteemed New York radio personality from the “Bronson and Christine” morning show from 106.7 Lite FM, she remarked, “Not only is Pat Benatar an amazing vocalist, a mezzo-soprano rockstar, but she’s married to Neil Giraldo for over 30 years, so she is my relationship idol as well. Congrats to a woman who’s been able to carry on a successful career and marriage and for making it all work.”
Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo got their Westbury fans “all fired up” and gave them a night of acoustic rock music to remember as they raised money for a great cause. The night was filled with nostalgia as they dusted off these rock classics and introduced them to a brand new audience of fans. Pat’s vocals were dynamic, captivating and as strong as ever. Vocally, she is in the same league as Ann Wilson from Heart and they both stand out as two of the greatest singers in the rock genre. Pat truly gave it “her best shot” and Neil’s guitar-playing ability is second to none. Pat is the epitome of beauty and natural talent and class in rock.
There were no gimmicks in tonight’s show. It consisted of a woman who was able to command the Westbury stage thanks to her spell-binding voice and charisma and her gifted husband who is able to make musical magic from his guitar (and subsequently play some of coolest guitar solos in rock music).
One of the most puzzling facts about Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo is that they have yet to be nominated let alone be inducted into the prestigious Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, even after multiple decades in the music industry (and after multiple accolades and awards they have garnered); however, if Hall of Fame voters ever need proof of their immense talent and whether or not they are worthy of a Hall of Fame induction, all they need to see is a highlight reel of this concert. They definitely deserve to be in there along with Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart (who are getting inducted this year).