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December 16 - Cologne, Germany - Kölnarena

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.

Thanks Chrissie!

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