I never would have imagined I'd hear Pat Benatar sing a Roky Erickson song or hear Neil Giraldo do an electric guitar version of “The Godfather” theme.
But that’s what happened Sunday when Benatar and Giraldo pulled “Don’t Slander Me” and the mob movie instrumental during the “look at what we can do” medley that closed their superb Pinewood Bowl show.
Together for 39 years and married for 36, Benatar and Giraldo have perfected their sound — which takes one of rock’s greatest vocalists ever, pairs her with a brilliant guitarist for anthemic songs that showcase their talents.
And they’re better now than when I first saw them 38 years ago.
At 65, Benatar has lost nothing of her stunning voice, whether she was working the high end of her mezzo soprano on “We Live For Love” or belting out “Hit Me With Your Best Shot.”
And Giraldo is just as impressive on guitar, whether blazing on “Hell Is For Children” or driving with an acoustic 12-string on “Disconnected,” one of the two songs they did without their bassist and drummer.
Sunday’s show was primarily made up of what Giraldo called “The Holy 14,” the songs the duo has to play every show.
But they pulled out “Shine,” the beautiful song Benatar wrote for the 2017 Women’s March, with Giraldo on piano to open the encore that ended with “Heartbreaker” and the surprising medley.
Rick Springfield preceded Benatar with 70 minutes that mixed his '80s hits with a couple new songs, a guitar solo and a rockin’ version of “Wild Thing.”
The set picked up steam in its last 25 minutes, starting with an audience pass-the-mic take on “Don’t Talk to Strangers,” with 8 year old Erica joining him on stage and a trip into the audience on “Human Touch” during which he sang most of a chorus sitting on my left knee.
It ended, of course, with “Jessie’s Girl,” which he milked for all it was worth.
Springfield had guitar troubles throughout, responding with rock star pique, sending one guitar bouncing across the stage and another flying, saved from destruction by a band member’s highlight-reel one-handed catch.