by Andy Volkert
Last Saturday (December 16) I saw Chrissie perform at the Kölnarena in Cologne, Germany as part of this
year's Night Of The Proms. The show in Cologne was the last one on this 37 date tour through Belgium, The Netherlands
and Germany and apart from Chrissie featured Coolio, Italian tenor Alessandro Safina, German singer Nena (you might
remember her international early 80s hit 99 Red Balloons/99 Luftballons), Howard Jones and UB 40 all accompanied
by a large orchestra, a choir and an electric band. The venue across the river Rhine from the old city centre of
Cologne is about two years old and is in fact the largest in-door arena in Germany (capacity 22.000). The Eurythmics
(1999) and Bob Dylan (2000) have already played there. The show was almost sold out.
Chrissie spent more time in the spotlight than all the other performers, closing the first half of the show with
I Go To Sleep, Brass In Pocket and I'll Stand By You (all three with orchestra; she played guitar only on the last
verse of I'll Stand By You).
In the second half she sang Aria & Memoria with Alessandro Safina (she sang her part in English, A. Safina
sang in Italian), I Got You Babe with UB 40 and she reappeared as part of the grand finale (All You Need Is Love)
singing one verse (the others went to Coolio, A. Safina and Ali Campbell of UB 40). Even though the crowd's biggest
ovation was reserved for German singer Nena, who sang two songs and an acapella encore, it was Chrissie's presence
that dominated the evening as she appeared at important points in the course of the show: end of first part, middle
of second part (with A. Safina), with the last pop act to go on (UB 40) and finale.
The Night Of The Proms is of course a completely different kind of show from your average Pretenders concert in
that it lacks spontaneity and looseness. Due to the large orchestra accompanying all the artists everything is
pre-arranged and runs very smoothly. If you're into that kind of thing you'll probably enjoy the show a lot. The
people in the Arena had a tremendously great time.
Chrissie delivered a majestic performance and seemed to enjoy herself. She looked absolutely great! With her white
Telecaster (on the strap you could make out the handwritten words "VEGAN" and "AKRON") and
in a tight black suit and white vest underneath and block-heeled black ankle boots she came across like a female
version of classic 1966 Bob Dylan. Great! She changed into a white jacket for the classical duet and came on in
black jacket and blue jeans for I Got You Babe and the finale.
At the end of the last song she was the first one to leave, picking up the flowers she had been given from the
grand piano and exiting stage left. A great evening in a great place and a complete contrast to last year's great
fast 'n' loose Pretenders show here in Cologne which took place in an old factory building on the outskirts of
the city centre on the other side of the river.