Cher with Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo
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Pat Benatar and Neil “Spyder” Giraldo share a rock ‘n roll fairy tale that isn’t the norm in the music world. She sings, he plays guitar and Giraldo also serves as producer and arranger. Together, the couple has written Top 40 hits such as “Love is a Battlefield,” “Hit Me with Your Best Shot,” “Heartbreaker,” “Promises In The Dark” and “We Belong.”
More impressively, they have been happily married for more than three decades.
“When we first started playing together, we were each other’s muse and there was no relationship involved and we started a partnership, entrusting our musical abilities in each other,” Giraldo says. “Our being around together so long and so much, we became romantically involved and that became our priority. Now, when we get off stage, we are just Mr. and Mrs. Giraldo.”
When the couple plays the Verizon Center tonight, it will be a celebration of 35 years together — both as partners on the stage and off. Not that their fairytale love doesn’t have the usual kinks every couple faces. Giraldo says they experience the same arguments that any married couple has — they’ve just learned to put them aside when it’s time to perform.
“Even if we have an argument beforehand, when we hit the stage, we are just Pat and Neil, those people you have always known and loved,” Giraldo says. “The endorphins kick in and that’s helpful and your attitude changes and by the time you come off, we forget what we were arguing about. It’s a gift from God to get us through the day.”
The pair will share the bill at Verizon with Cher and later this summer will co-headline a tour with fellow ’80s legend Rick Springfield.
“I’ve known both of them forever and this is the first time that we will be going out on tour together, so it’s something I am looking forward to as well,” Springfield says. “Not a lot of people know this, but Spyder played guitar on ‘Jessie’s Girl’ (and also co-produced it), so he plays an important part of my history.”
Playing with fellow musical icons is nothing new for Benatar and Giraldo; in fact, over the years they have played with a who’s who of ’80s rock, including Journey, Loverboy, REO Speedwagon, the Bangles, Blondie and Cheap Trick.
“Let’s face it, not everyone wants to spend money to see a concert, but when you combine a couple of favorites in one show, it’s just a win-win for everyone,” Giraldo says. “Fans like it and shows like this should have been done more back in the early days, but I think egos probably got in the way a lot more back then.”
For the Verizon concert, Giraldo says to expect plenty of hits as well as some new stuff and “the best of the bunch of the rest. There will be some surprises and we’ll make you tired as hell by the time we’re done.”
Although Benatar prefers to let her music do the talking, the man they call Spyder is always happy to be front and center with interviews as he says his personality is much better suited for it. Still, he shares that his lovely wife still enjoys being on stage as much as he does and they are both always so touched to see so many fans.
“Sometimes I look out at the crowd and go, ‘Wow, lots of these people are really old. Wait, I’m really old!’ But they are in their T-shirts and singing along and we go back in time,” he says. “Then you see those kids whose parents grew up with our music and so they listened to it, and that’s great to see.”
And don’t expect the lovebirds to stop touring anytime soon. Giraldo says there’s no slowing down in them.
“From the very beginning our chemistry was undeniable. This is the driving force behind everything we do,” Giraldo says. “After 35 years of playing together, we’re looking forward to the summer tour and the future, which will surely be adventurous.”