Memorial Day weekend in Orlando, Florida on a beautiful Saturday, brought out a big crowd for the Downtown Concert Series featuring vendors, tributes, and music.

Orlando’s Downtown Concert Series kicked off the summer with local bands Amp’D and Skin Deep. They entertained the crowds on a perfect, breezy, sunny afternoon, and as the sun went down and the lights came up,  it was time for Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo. The concert, held in the plaza in front of Orlando’s City Hall, was a free event featuring vendors, food, drinks, and plenty of music to please the crowd.

Featured as the opening acts for the concert, local bands Amp’D and Skin Deep covered songs from the rock and pop genre from the last four decades. The crowds in early attendance hours before Benatar and Giraldo would take the stage would prove each of the local bands have a loyal and large following of their own. The four decades of musical prelude was the perfect build up before Benatar and Giraldo whose careers span nearly that many decades.

A retrospective series of photographs and a narrative would precede the entrance to the stage of Benatar and Giraldo. This look back through their lives, how they met, and the music over the years would be the perfect way to begin an evening, as they would belt out favorites to an adoring and pumped crowd. “Shadows of the Night” would open the show, and the voice that so many have heard for 36 years would not disappoint. With Giraldo on guitar along with bassist, Mick Mahan, and drummer, Chris Rulles, fans where in for a special night.

After greeting the audience they would continue with “All Fired Up,” “Invincible,” and “We Live For Love.” The moments between the four mini sets would have both Benatar and Giraldo talking to the crowd and sharing snippets of their lives together. With each mini set of songs and interactive moments in between each one, the chemistry that has kept the two of them together for 33 years of marriage was easy to see.

The music covered would be old favorites, top hits, lesser known songs, a karaoke favorite, and a special treat to close out the show. Whatever the song, fans sang and danced while Giraldo masterfully played both guitar and piano, and Benatar’s voice never wavered. They would encore with “Everybody Lay Down” off the 1993 Gravity’s Rainbow album, “Let’s Stay Together” from the 1988 Wide Awake in Dreamland, and then finish with a special remix. The remix was an amazing combination of “Heartbreaker” and the Johnny Cash classic “Ring of Fire.”

The band will take a few weeks of hiatus before returning to the stage for a series of tour dates throughout the rest of 2015.

Setlist:
Shadows of the Night
All Fired Up
Invincible
We Love for Love
One Love
Go
Strawberry Wine
Promises in the Dark
We Belong
Hell is for Children
You Better Run
Hit Me with Your Best Shot
Love is a Battlefield
Everybody Lay Down
Let’s Stay Together
Heartbreaker

Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo
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About The Author

Photojournalist

Photography has always been part of my life. From the days of film back in the early 80s to present day digital. The view has always been the same...to capture an emotion, a moment, a feeling, or provoke a thought. Since the early days I’ve had the opportunity to capture sports, weddings, architectural details, wildlife, automobiles, landscapes, concerts, and portraits. Be it an album cover, advertisement, newspaper, magazine, gallery, or social media, my greatest joy comes from knowing someone loves my work enough to place it in their own home. That is true satisfaction...knowing that I have touched something deep inside another person’s soul. I am a native Floridian currently residing in St. Augustine, Florida. A proud graduate of Flagler College and a lover of music and small details that go unnoticed by most, I continue to explore the reaches of my own mind through writing, photography, and constant introspection.

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