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January 28, Ft. Lauderdale, FL - Sunrise Theatre

by Scotto

Got back very late last night so I'm just now ready to get the update for the Sunrise (Ft Lauderdale) show in. First the good news- the band was tight, musically precise and fun. Chrissie was in great voice. The place was packed; HUGE crowd (lots of people in shorts, I don't think you'll see that anywhere else on this tour!) Played a lot of songs- 20 in all.

Now the bad- the venue was sucky. Crowd was restless, like they were strung out- constant stream of people in and out of rows. Security was in force and NASTY... not unlike the Atlantic City show of '99. There was no leaving your assigned seat (we were all in the 7th row), even when someone further up left. No hanging out near the stage. No dancing allowed. I was reprimanded for pulling a pocket camera out. It was incredible.

After what seemed like a short set by "Gay Dad", the Pretenders took the stage around 9:15PM, starting up, like in Jacksonville, with Samurai. CH looked great- wore black on black outfit- the jacket was double-breasted, black shirt underneath, black slacks, high heals. Adam had a black and white sport shirt on and slacks, was in good spirits but was oddly non-vocal for most of the evening. Most of the banter was between Chrissie and Martin. At one point, Chrissie held up a PETA poster of a severed cows head and talked about cruelty of eating meat. Some lout from the crowd yelled "who cares", to which she answered "apparently not many here". For the most part, the people in the crowd were rude to the point of being belligerant. For all of their part keeping the crowd in check, security did nothing about the people smoking or acting stupid in their seats... one gal ran up and spit her beer up like a fountain--- spraying a whole bunch of us. It was truly bizarre.

The set was as follows:
Legalize Me
Message of Love
Talk Of The Town
Downtown (Akron)
My City Was Gone
Baby's Breath
Private Life
Who's Who
Back On The Chain Gang
Don't Get Me Wrong
Night In My Veins
Room Full Of Mirrors
encore set:
Pop Star
Middle Of The Road
Mystery Achievement
Stop Your Sobbing

I personally think that the band would have been better off starting up with "Pop Star" or some other upbeat number because it would have had people on their feet a lot sooner... standing status wasn't achieved until "Chain Gang". I think they should change the song set around. Martin didn't have the plexiglass shield around him.

At one point, in introducing the band, Chrissie into'd "from Sheffield England, our base player, and ladies, he's available and I understand quite the catch, Andy Hobson... you are available, aren't you Andy? Yes he is!!". That was funny.

At another point between songs, Martin placed his drumsticks on top of his head, like antenae. Chrissie finished her banter with "We'll play you another favorite, as soon as our drummer stops playing around". Later, when Martin introduced Chrissie Hynde, he said "From Jacksonville Florida, by way of Akron Ohio, by way of London, "Chrissie Hynde!"; that was a little of a surprise. By the way, there was no seeing the band either before or after the show... they spirited away pretty quickly. As said before, the band was polished, but the feeling was that it was a professional "its a job" thing... very different from last summer in Myrtle Beach, where the band was approachable, there was a lot more talking, and everyone was very cool. There was some stuff for sale: "Pop Star" shirts which looked like they were made for little girls, Black tour shirts with red "Pretenders" on the front (I thought these were pretty unattractive; I was wearing my Tarkus shirt which drew much praise!), Viva coffeemugs and key chains (got myself a mug- it's stamped "Pretenders 2000" on it), Viva cover slicks (18"x18", I think) and a few "Biker Shirts" left over ($30!!!)

My final grades:
Band: B+
Venue: C-

I might have to get up to Orlando, which will hopefully be MUCH better.

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