Multiple Grammy winner and ’80s rock icon Pat Benatar played a sold-out show at the State Theatre Saturday night. It was a co-headliner affair with her longtime guitarist – and husband of 30 years – Neil “Spyder” Giraldo.

Although her Top 40 glory days are a thing of the past, Benatar’s career is anything but.  Now 59, Benatar still has the pipes that made her famous, and with a long list of classic hits to choose from, she and Giraldo brought the house down. They were accompanied by bassist Mick Mahan and drummer Chris Ralles.

Benatar’s been touring fairly consistently for the past several years, but she hasn’t played in Maine for 24 years. Was it worth the wait? You bet it was.

It was a packed house, and many of us in the audience had grown up to Benatar during the heyday of MTV. With nostalgia hanging thick in the air, Benatar, wearing a long black coat, strutted on stage after the opening chords of  “All Fired Up.” We were, as concertgoer Laura Vecchio put it, “catapulted back to high school.”

The crowd stood as one and welcomed Benatar back to Maine with the deafening sound of sheer music euphoria. From that point forward, the hits kept coming, the next one being “Shadows of the Night.” 

While I disagree with Benatar’s assessment of “The Legend of Billie Jean” being one of “the worst movies ever made,” its theme song “Invincible” was another crowd-pleaser with an impressive bass solo from Mahan. “Promises in the Dark” came soon after, and it was one the night’s best. Giraldo’s electric guitar was dazzling. He certainly deserved to have his name and face next to Benatar’s on the T-shirts. Truly a sensational musician.


An acoustic version of “You Better Run” made for a refreshing take on an old favorite. And yes, Giraldo is also brilliant with an acoustic guitar. We were instructed to hold up lit cellphones and sway our arms along to another acoustic tune, “We Belong.”

However, all things acoustic went out the window for the next one. Benatar explained that she and the band have been playing this song for more than 30 years and will continue to do so until “every child everywhere is safe.” Suffice to say, the song was “Hell is for Children.” Giraldo’s guitar was blistering and Benatar’s voice as potent as ever.

Benatar declared that being 59 allows her to make the rules when it comes to certain things and so when she asked us to take vocals on several parts of “Hit Me With Your Best Shot,” no one let her down. “Love is a Battlefield” closed out the set with a red-hot reception from a very appreciative crowd.

The first encore was “Let’s Stay Together” from 1988’s “Wide Awake in Dreamland,” and we were sent on our way with “Heartbreaker” cleverly interwoven with Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire.”

What a fun and enthralling show from a class act of musicians and a woman who can still sing the stuffing out of a song and charm an audience with her rock star charisma.

Benatar and Giraldo will be back in Maine Sept. 28 for a show at Bangor Waterfront Pavilion with Journey and Loverboy.

Staff Writer Aimsel Ponti can be  contacted at 791-6455 or at:

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