Saturday was '80s night at Pepsi Music Fest, and in a city seemingly still very much in love with the culture, clothing, movies and, above all, music from that wacky decade, it meant the largest, loudest crowd the festival has seen so far.
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When Blondie kicked the night off (see photos), Movistar Arena was packed with 30-something-year-old women, guys wearing sweatshirts tied around their waists and enthusiastic, well-dressed, cigarette-smoking, dance-loving couples.
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Lead singer Deborah Harry shimmied, swayed and even stumbled her way through the band’s hits including “Call Me,” “One Way or Another,” “Rapture,” “Dreaming,” “Heart of Glass” and “Two Times Blue.” The fans didn’t seem to mind Harry’s noticeably groggy appearance and sang along with most songs at the tops of their lungs.
Self-proclaimed Blondie nut Marcelo Celotto, 33, presented Harry with a bouquet of roses after flying all the way from his native Sao Paulo, Brazil. “It’s outrageous that Blondie played first, before Rick Astley and A-ha,” Celotto said while waiting outside the heavily monitored security doors leading backstage.
Celotto stated that “Debbie” is one of the best rock singers ever and took down notes from the loose-lipped guard about what hotel the members of Blondie were staying in while in town. (Obsessed much?)
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After Blondie, Rick Astley and crew rolled (literally) onstage with cheesy-cool performances of songs including “She Wants To Dance With Me,” “Together Forever” and “Never Gonna Give You Up” that were broken up by interesting commentary from the 43-year-old heart throb.
“I need to see some more ass shaking, ladies,” Astley said at one point. “A little bit of underwear on the stage wouldn’t be bad either.” While the language barrier shielded the majority of discomfort, Astley’s performance induced the loudest cheers of the night.
The highlight was when Gina, a lady in the front row, was summoned by Astley to sing “My Arms Keep Missing You.” She owned the spotlight, took over the stage and ignited the already hot Chilean crowd as Astley sat back, smiling and blowing kisses at her. “I love you,” he told her with a hug before she exited the stage.
“It was unbelievable,” she beamed while fanning herself and wiping the sweat (and most likely tears) from her face.
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A-ha closed out the night with less energy than its predecessors, yet with much more intensity and dramatics. The crowd stood for the entire performance, though wasn’t as loud as it had been with Astley and Blondie. The audience’s complete fixation on the stage and the attendees’ overwhelmingly a-ha-dominated apparel made clear that the Norwegian band was the main draw.
“It was great,” a-ha guitar and keyboard player Magne Furuholmen said in an interview after the show. “Thanks a lot for having us.”