by Terrie Schweitzer
Note: These photos weren't taken at the show, but Chrissie was dressed exactly like
this last night. Below are our show notes; "t" is me,
"s" is Steve.
s: Waited for T to write up the show, but I'll add a few notes...
t: Disclaimer: I don't write "show reviews", keep track of set lists, etc.
t: Even before buying tickets, I was a little apprehensive about this show because of the venue. Konocti Harbor
seems to feature rock-and-rollers from the past (coming soon: Chicago, Kenny Rogers... -s) who have washed up on
the debris-filled shores of Clear Lake. But I've never had a chance to see a Pretenders before. Chrissie Hynde
is a complete icon to me, but $99 a ticket, sheesh...that also seem to indicate doom in some way. $99 to see one
s: For a good idea, I've lived in this area for 26 years, and have only once even considered going to a Konocti
show (Alice Cooper, last year). This is Konocti: http://www.konoctiharbor.com/.
I was rather enamored of the idea of having a hotel room with jacuzzi ($230 a night "in season," $209
"out of season," but these rooms have separate kitchens etc, really more for an extended stay where you're
gonna save some money on food by cooking in), but there were no vacancies at the resort or anywhere near it. This
seems really odd to me, for a mid-September weekend -- what do they do on the big summer weekends, like July 4?
Very dangerous roads in all directions to get out of the Clear Lake area; they must have DUI accidents and arrests
around there every weekend. The service in this place was as slack as I've seen. We went in the "rock'n'roll"
cafe and waited at the counter for a good five minutes without even a nod from the five or six waitpersons who
were NOT busy. We left without getting any indication we were visible, to the "rock'n'roll" bar, where
we again waited almost five minutes right in front of two fat-and-pasty bartenders who were having a chat, with
only two or three other customers in the room, before they deigned to offer us anything to drink.
t: My tension increased after we arrived; this just didn't seem to be much like a rock-and-roll crowd. Ticket
prices included a buffet; usually they have prime rib, but at Chrissie's insistence it was vegetarian tonight.
It all seemed too quasi-formal. Cheerleaders from the local high school circulated amid the tables, asking if you'd
like to buy raffle tickets. The prize was a deluxe concert package to see Eddie Money later this month. People
seemed to be buying them...the crowd seems rather old and dodgy to me, and I'm depressed to realize that most of
them are about my age.
s: not only did the cheerleaders circulate, they did so several times, asking me at least four times if I wanted
raffle tickets. I would pay good hard cash for a guarantee of Eddie Money *avoidance*, but they couldn't deliver
on that... We understand that the resort wants to take part in the community, but it's quite enough to let the
cheerleaders have a table smack in front of the entrance - which they did - without having them bumming change
in the room. Next time, we may print up some tickets of our own, and alleviate some of the hard physical and psychological
cost of attending a Konocti "event."
t: This place actually did remind me of Ohio a bit...they're trying to sell you on the idea of a high-falutin'
resort, but your drinks are served in plastic cups which litter the bar area all day long, with no one cleaning
off tables which are in dire need of being wiped down. Everything is done on the cheap while all signs scream "luxury".
We bought a couple of t-shirts before the show started, and walked out to put them in the car. Steve said something
about this in fact being hell...not quite, but you can buy a raffle ticket for that.
t: The stage is already set up, and as we waited for the show to start I got more anxious as I looked at the
stage: the drum kit with classic Pretenders logo, good. But at center stage, a chair and keyboard setup, with candles
on the keyboard. Next to it, a chair for a guitar player. Now, I like the "Isle of View" album well enough,
but I really want to see a Pretenders rock-and-roll show.
s: we had pretty good seats, at the front and off to the side. One thing Konocti did right: higher tables and
chairs at the walls. Our view of the entire show was completely unobstructed, except by the security idiots.
t: Finally, the stage went dark. But I almost pop an artery when the venue's announcer gets up and yammers on
about a couple of things before tonight's "Linda Perry and the Pretenders"...no opening act had been
mentioned before. Does he mean Chrissie isn't here so they got someone to fill in for her? It's only a few minute
before the candles are lit and I am relieved to see that Linda Perry is in fact an opening act, but in that amount
of time in my head I've already dismembered the announcer, most of the crowd, and am pulling one of those three-year
old tantrums where I just lay on my back kicking and pounding and screaming.
t: Linda Perry (of Four Non Blonde fame) has a wonderful voice, but she isn't Chrissie. My anxiety about whether
or not Chrissie would actually show up and *then* whether or not she would live up to my hopes for the show was
so intense that I really couldn't appreciate Perry as much as I might have otherwise. Her set was not overly long,
though, and it was with relief that I watched the chairs and candles and all being removed from the stage.
s: I liked Perry quite a bit. Though she was a little flat on some notes, her very strong and distinctive voice
carried a decent set. I always expected her to have more success than she's had; in spite of simplistic politico-social
commentary (something about "the birthdays you missed when you were at a bar," yeah, blame the parents),
including of course, the 4 Non Blondes song "What's Going On," sung so powerfully you forgive the 8th-grade
sentiment. While she was covering the Led Zep chestnut "Whole Lotta Love" to great effect, a solitary
woman got up and started dancing. Immediately, she was escorted off the floor by the unnecessary but ubiquitous
security force. Perry was annoyed enough to stop and yell, "Hey, that's my mom!" "They took my mom
t: The Pretenders finally make their way out to stage, and there she is...Chrissie looks *fantastic*, and actually
glad to be there. I think they started with "The Adultress". Martin Chambers (drums) was also in great
form. The others in the band were fine, the guitarist better than I expected. And the band seemed to get along
nicely, happy to be there, enjoying themselves.
s: Martin Chambers said he'd been in the jacuzzi all day. I always considered "the Pretenders" to
be "Chrissie and a backing band," really, but while any competent guitarist and bassist and drummer *could*
fill the bill, Chambers really was a treat, and nobody detracted from the sound except maybe the guy who wandered
on and off the stage with entirely gratuitous tambourines, maracas, and whatever those "Magic Bus" clacking
sticks are called.
t: I've gotten accustomed to vocalists sounding different in person than on their recordings, but Chrissie's
voice really rang true all night...she sounds fucking great. They did a set list that was pretty standard stuff,
one Neil Young song (guess she's been doing a few in tribute as they've been opening for him). All of it very true
to the recorded versions, but with a lot of energy and enthusiasm.
t: Early on Chrissie asked how we liked the vegetarian buffet and mentioned that the nice folks at Konocti did
that because "we said we wouldn't play here otherwise." She asked if anyone really missed the prime rib
and I think she got a "yes" from the crowd...I thought we might have a lecture coming, but she simply
held her guitar up in the air away from her body and said something like, "Yeah, well *you* won't look like
*this* when you're fifty, either." Touché.
t: Some more banter revolved around the current cover of Rolling Stone, with Chrissie remembering the first
cover featuring John Lennon and bemoaning the state of things now..."I don't know why you put up with it.
I try not to. I blame the parents." (I'm not sure if everyone here got the joke...no, she's not talking about
*our* parents, folks.) She added, "Those aren't even her own tits."
s: the comment was "some Brazilian bimbo with big boobs," and the later aside, "and the boobs
aren't even hers."
t: About halfway thru the set, people (including Linda Perry leading the way, bless her heart), got up to dance
during "Pop Star". Security dutifully tried to stop this nonsense and get everyone back to sitting in
their seats. The band stopped and Chrissie, in continuing good humor, talked to the guards and said, "You
know, I think I can guarantee that a riot's not going to break out or anything...they're not going to be stage
diving or whatever it is the kids are doing these days." More people stood up, more refused to go back to
their seats, and the band picked up where they left off, with one guard hustling towards the back, yelling into
his walkie-talkie as he passed us, "I give up!"
s: I credit Linda Perry with jump-starting this show. Annoyed with security for making the mysterious lone woman
stop dancing, she took it on herself to get out there and dance when the Pretenders started rocking. Security guys
couldn't very well cart the opening act off the floor - they could have a REAL dangerous situation, even with a
roomful of fortysomethings. They already hadn't made any friends. And once the people were out there, something
seemed to kinda kick into place, and the Pretenders didn't do a single ballad or slow song from then on, two hours'
worth of prime 'tenders.
t: Even before this, the show was great, but, as Chrissie said, "Well, *I* feel better." I was getting
my rock and roll show and loving every minute.
t: Between a couple of songs she pointed to the big screens on either side of the stage. Something like "You
don't mind that these aren't on? I didn't want them; I look up when I'm playing and I just look so good I get all
distracted." All in all, she just seemed to be so in her element here.
t: Chrissie always seems to emote ego like there's no tomorrow, but she can back it all up and I love that combination.
Still, she seemed almost in awe of the fact that they had been out on tour with Neil Young; I found myself wondering
if she's even aware that she's actually "made it" in this business.
t: Other songs (in no particular) included Middle of the Road, Chain Gang, Legalize Me, Human, Talk of the Town,
I Go To Sleep, My City Was Gone, Night in My Veins and some more; I think less of the ballad stuff than people
have been hearing lately. Did I mention that the vocals were great? Did I mention that the drumming was great?
Did I mention that the guitars were great?
s: all told, about a two-hour show, for three-plus hours of driving, including a endless harrowing night-drive
home over Mt. St. Helena. I'd probably do it again next year, and reserve a room early - with the jacuzzi - if
they're invited back.
t: At one point, someone with a band badge on their t-shirt sleeve was invited up to the stage with the band.
We never really heard who she was, but I was betting it was one of Chrissie's daughters (the Chrissie-Ray Davies
daughter born in 1983...could have been, maybe not, but her face seemed familiar...really, though, no idea...).
Chrissie offered her guitar but the guest declined and just sorta danced and mugged around on stage before stage
diving off...Chrissie mouthing, "Oh thank you..." Later, during an encore, Linda Perry was invited up
to duet on "Brass in Pocket"...she didn't seem to know the words but you could sorta forgive her for
it after her face-off with security.
$99 to see one band. It was a privilege.