Featured News Taping Recap

Taping recap: Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo

When Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo took the Austin City Limits stage for their very first taping, they did so in front of a crowd that was, to put it plainly, stoked. So it was appropriate that the freshly-minted Rock & Roll Hall of Famers and their rhythm section of bassist Mick Mahan and drummer Tony Pia kicked off the evening with “All Fired Up,” the mid-eighties hit that celebrates the power of their epic style. Of course, that efficacy was evident throughout the evening, as singer Benatar and guitarist Giraldo consistently raised the flag for evergreen rock. 

by Scott Newton for Austin City Limits and Austin PBS

The ever-smiling married couple took us on a high-energy, career-spanning journey of their impressive, near-five-decade, Grammy-laden catalog, from the powerhouse “Sex As a Weapon” and the empowerment paean “Girl” to the soaring rocker “We Live For Love” and the fiery Rascals cover “You Better Run.” “We love this song as much as you do, as it’s a song that brings people together,” Benatar noted as she sat on a red stool beside the grand piano. Giraldo tickled the ivories for “We Belong,” one of the married duo’s biggest hits, and one that Benatar sang with the kind of passion that meant she believed it every time she sang “We belong together!” The rousing “Invincible” got the blood pumping, while the steely “Hell is For Children” roared with righteous anger – nobody does rock anthems like Benatar and Giraldo. Need more proof? The set-ending “Love is a Battlefield” grooved and blasted across the firmament like the classic it is, earning huge applause. The duo returned for a ripping encore of “Heartbreaker,” from Benatar’s 1979 debut, which she called “the song that started it all,” within which they interpolated Johnny Cash’s immortal “Ring of Fire,” let the crowd sing a chorus, and ended on, of all things, an electrified Irish jig and a standing ovation. It’s always good to see veteran performers like Benatar and Giraldo who clearly still enjoy what they do for a living, and that onstage joy transferred to the eager audience and the camera for what will be an amazing episode when it airs as part of our upcoming Season 49. 

Pat Benatar – lead vocals

Neil Giraldo – guitars, piano, vocals

Mick Mahan – bass

Tony Pia – drums


All Fired Up – Wide Awake in Dreamland

Sex As a Weapon – Seven the Hard Way

We Live For Love – In the Heat of the Night

Promises in the Dark – Precious Time

Girl – Go

We Belong – Tropico

Everybody Lay Down – Gravity’s Rainbow

Invincible- Seven the Hard Way

Shadows of the Night – Get Nervous

Hell is For Children – Crimes of Passion

You Better Run – Crimes of Passion

Love is a Battlefield – Live From Earth


Heartbreaker/Ring of Fire – In the Heat of the Night, Johnny Cash cover