Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo, Cheap Trick, and Brynn Marie at Wolf Trap by Mike Spain

Cheap Trick and Pat Benatar rocked Wolf Trap with their vintage rock, while a rising country star proved she belonged on the bill as well. You might not know Brynn Marie now but if her 25-minute opening set was any indicator – you will know her soon! She kicked off the evening with her song “Don’t Let It Cross the Line.” Her band showed they belong on the bill, driving her songs with guitars, drums. and bass.

Brynn Marie.
Brynn Marie.

Brynn Marie might be starting out but she had the stage presence of a veteran musician, and she displayed an excellent voice. She showed some variety in her music by offering the ballad “I’m Sorry.” She closed with her current hit “Band Aid on a Bullet Hole” which has found a home on CMT. My wife – who likes country music more than me – described her set as “amazing.” By the end of the evening, Pat Benatar made it clear she believed in Brynn Marie who has opened for her entire summer tour.

After a short intermission, Cheap Trick came to the stage and had the crowd rocking during their 70-minute set. They opened their set with “Hello There,” which is one of their classic concert opening songs. Next the band tore into “Big Eyes.” The band was playing on a stage filled with cool black and white checkerboard patterned amps and speakers The band kept it rocking with “Elo Kiddies” and “California Man.”

They rocked through the middle of their set taking time to jam out a couple of times. Rick Neilsen was able to get his due on a guitar solo, and threw out multiple handfuls of guitar picks into the crowd on several occasions, and switched guitars with almost every song. Robin Zander – wearing his police hat – demonstrated he is still a great front man.

CheapTrick. Photo by Tiffany Rose/Getty Images.
CheapTrick. Photo by Tiffany Rose/Getty Images.

The band launched into their classic hit “I Want You to Want Me,” which was followed by a tasty bass solo by Tom Petersson on his 12-string bass guitar. Next they performed “Never Had a Lot to Loose,” which Zander impressed with his showmanship. “The Flame” highlighted Zander’s 12-string rhythm guitar playing and was one of his biggest vocal highlights of the night. “We’re All Alright” and “Sick Man of Europe” kept the party going. Cheap Trick ended their set with their hits “Dream Police” and “Surrender.”

Pat Benatar walked onto the stage with her guitarist husband Neil Giraldo and started the show by performing “All Fired Up.” Next they performed her top-ten hit “Invincible.” Her set included her biggest hits and spanned her career. Her third song was 1979’s “So Sincere” followed by 2003’s “I’d Rather Die than Love You.” She playfully bantered with her husband on stage and there were no shortages of stories between songs. “Promises in the Dark” followed as her set transitioned back to the hits. She brought out the opener Brynn Marie to help on “We Belong to the Night.” Benatar praised the up-and-coming singer.

The show continued with “Hell is for Children,” followed by “You Better Run.” The latter was the second video ever played on MTV and Neil Giraldo became the first guitarist to be seen on the music network. Giraldo also played piano at times during the show.

Pat Benatar and Giraldi. Photo courtesy of Wolf Trap.
Pat Benatar and Giraldi. Photo courtesy of Wolf Trap.

The concert climaxed as they performed their hits “Hit Me with Your Best Shot,” “Love is a Battlefield,” and “Heartbreaker.” The set ending “Heartbreaker” also contained a big chunk of Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire.” At the end of the song Giraldo played a guitar riff from Led Zeppelin’s “Heartbreaker” and wowed the audience with a few more riffs. They chose “Let’s Stay Together” for their encore – which was fitting since Pat and Neil have been playing together for 35 yards, and have been married for 31 years.

Wolf Trap was the place to be as two multi-Grammy Award-winning artists shared the Filene Center Stage, along with a future music star.

Running time: Three hours and fifteen minutes, with two intermissions.

Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo, Cheap Trick and Brynn Marie played one night only on August 20, 2013, at the Filene Center at Wolf Trap – 1551 Trap Road, in Vienna, VA. For future performances, check their calendar of events.


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