Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo rock The Grove at Anaheim

Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo rocked The Grove of Anaheim on September 7th, taking attendees on a magical ride through their 42-year playbook of extraordinary musical mastery. I can still recall the first time my Pop played Pat Benatar for me… I was six years old and remember being blown away by the beautiful, powerful voice resonating from the stereo speakers.

Lordy, did I want to be Pat Benatar when I grew up!

Plagued with a voice that could break glass and not in a good way, I took to lip-syncing and dancing all over the house. As MTV took to the airwaves and with his love for film and videography, my Pop indulged my wacky creative side. Together with my mom, they would produce and film my own Pat Benatar music videos. Who would’ve known that decades later, my Pop and I would be at a Pat Benatar show, with the fantastic opportunity to photograph the experience, with him as my trusted assistant?!

The lights dimmed as Pat and Neil kicked off the night, firing the crowd up. That’s right, “All Fired Up” led into the enchanting “We Live For Love”. They brought us back to the days of “The Legend of Billie Jean” before they next launched into “Invincible.” The crowd went wild with every hit played from “Promises in the Dark” to “You Better Run”, “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” and, of course, “Love Is a Battlefield”. They also surprisingly played songs not typically heard, like “Strawberry Wine”! Giraldo’s screaming guitar skills were on display during every piece, yet his solo during “Hell Is for Children” reminds one of why he is one of the best guitar players in history.

At the onset of the encore, Benatar announced the Broadway play that they’ve all been working on is coming closer and closer to fruition, with the upcoming release of the first single “After the Fall” in the next few days. With Giraldo on piano and Benatar solo centerstage, with lighting shadowing her face, her operatic voice and her storytelling heart gave beautiful insight into a magnificent story — sure to sell out every night on Broadway! But, of course, the night would not be complete without the final encore song of “Heartbreaker” with a bit of “Ring of Fire” thrown in. 

Photography by Jenni Lynne

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