Main Menu

February 14, San Francisco, CA - Fillmore

by Alison Chaiken

My boyfriend and I attended the sold-out Pretenders show at San Francisco's Fillmore Auditorium on Monday night. I was planning to take careful notes, but the room was so dark, I couldn't see nearly well enough to write. I'm sure I have the song list right, but I'm not certain about the order in the middle part of the set.

We arrived in time to hear the last two songs by Gay Dad. They sounded a bit retro, like Kula Shaker, and seemed generally well received by the audience. Since the Fillmore has almost no seats, fans standing and sitting wasn't an issue during either set. Unfortunately there were a lot of tall folks, and we had trouble finding a spot where we could see the stage. We decided the Pretenders had tall fans, and reminisced about how basketball's Larry Byrd was at a concert we attended on the _Learning to Crawl_ tour.

The Pretenders came on at 9:10, preceded by some lounge music (no opera) and blue lights on stage. Everyone wore black except for Martin, who had on a white sleeveless t-shirt and carried a colorful cane. Chrissie wore a black blazer (which she soon took off), a black t-shirt, black pants and a gold-colored locket necklace. Adam wore a black t-shirt with a devil image on front and black pants. Andy wore a black sleeveless t-shirt and black pants. There was also a keyboard and percussion player whose name (Trevor?) I never did catch.

1. Samurai

Afterwards Chrissie said, "This show will make a fine Christmas present, so I hope you're all taping it!" Apparently local station KFOG, which plays the Pretenders regularly, had a live broadcast. That's pretty unusual given that it was a Monday night. If anyone has a tape (or CD!) of this show to offer, I'd love to have a copy. Please email me.

2. Legalize Me
In the middle of the song, Chrissie yelled, "Excuse me while I go talk with Adam," and ran over and started wildly playing guitar next to him. Only lasted a minute, though.

3. "We're glad to be back in San Francisco with our" Message of Love
4. Baby's Breath

At about this point Chrissie said, "How do we look? You can't fool me, I know what a sack of shit looks like!"

5. Talk of the Town

"We're the anti-fashion band." She turns out the white pocket linings of her black pants so that they stick out ridiculously. "We're the only band that doesn't have stolen Versace fashions. That's 'cause they're furs!" I have no idea what this Versace reference means, but perhaps someone out there does. Hilariously, Chrissie left her pocket linings protruding out until they left the stage for the encores.

8. Middle of the Road

Chrissie once again said she was a lesbian. This time, though, she didn't take it back, but launched right into the next song, which caused some audience confusion. As we were filing out, the woman standing next to me said, "I didn't know Chrissie Hynde was a lesbian. I thought she was married to Ray Davies." I explained that she is married, to Lucho Brieva, but that her sense of humor is a bit odd! In fact, a Hispanic fellow was sitting alone in the balcony above us, unhurriedly watching the crowd file out. I pointed to him and speculated that he was in fact the husband in question.

7. Don't Get Me Wrong

"What song do all of you out there want to hear?" The audience starts screaming titles. I was yelling for "Nails in the Road," but the next song was:

8. Who's Who

"Binoculars! You're scared now because I caught you aren't you? Why would anyone want binoculars in a place this small? [She definitely had a point there!] Our fans are so old that they're losing their eyesight. If you want to see something really old, focus them on that ugly sight!" Points at Martin.

9. Thin Line

"Here are two songs about my hometown, Akron Ohio."

10. Downtown (Akron)
11. My City was Gone

"Since we're here in San Francisco, I'd like to dedicate the next song to S. Fred ???, someone to whom I really owe a lot."

12. Biker

"Here's our latest monster hit."

13. Human

"This next song is dedicated to two of original band members who died of drug overdoses back in . . . was it 1983, Martin? If they are up there listening tonight, we want to tell them that if they take the needles of their arms and come on down, we'll still welcome them back."

14. Kid

"Did you folks get valentines? My valentine forgot." Three times during the show, someone handed Chrissie flowers, which she piled on top of some electronics. After the last encore, when the lights were up, she came back out on stage and retrieved them herself, which was a nice touch.

15. Stop your Sobbing

"What did all of you come here for tonight? I know what you want . . ."

16. Night in My Veins

"Everyone should take a moment to stop by the PETA table and tell them what a great job they're doing. I'd like to thank everyone here who supports us in our campaign to put the meat industry out of business. Maybe not that many of you support us. [crowd is quiet] Those of you who don't support us can go fuck yourself!" Gives crowd the finger.
17. Roomful of Mirrors

First Encore
18. Popstar

Chrissie actually started playing the beginning of the following by herself, before Adam joined in. It is rare to see her lead Adam rather than join him.

20. Back on the Chain Gang

Second Encore
19. Mystery Achievement

"We only have time for one more." Once again, the beginning of "Rabo de Nube" segued into "Brass."

21. Rabo/Brass in Pocket

I was musing on how many of the Pretenders songs can be recognized solely on the basis of the drum part, which isn't true of many bands. I also loved Adam's noisy, buzz-filled guitar playing. He's definitely brought his own recognizable sound to the old songs without ruining them.

All in all, I greatly enjoyed this show. I'm sorry that _Viva el Amor_'s sales aren't better, but I loved seeing the band in a small venue again. The band members seemed in good spirits, and they sounded great.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

by Larissa Jama

I had the greatest experience on Monday, because I was not at the Fillmore. I tried to get in the night of the show. I went by the venue after the concert started and tried to convince the girl at will call I was on the list, that didn't work, then I tried to sneak in through the fire escape...we all can imagine how well that worked...and I even talked to a roadie and he just laughed. As there were no scalpers in sight, I went home defeated.

I popped a tape in the stereo in my room, set the sound level and hit pause. I then went to my kitchen, popped a frozen pizza in the oven and cracked a beer.

It was great, the concert began, I cranked the boombox which sits on top of our fridge and proceeded to dance my ass off. My cat is still recovering and my neighbors is was so great to have all this dance room, free beer in the fridge and there was never a wait for the bathroom.

The real beauty of my very private concert in my kitchen, was after about every three songs, a friend would call and say, wow, now I know why you and Deb do it, these guys are great. My dear fried Robert, kept calling saying... Man, Warner Bros. really have their head up their ass. They just keep getting better and better. After House of Mirrors, he called me and said, I was just dancing in my kitchen...I could only laugh.

The point is, after listening to the broadcast, dancing in my kitchen in my P.J.s and freaking out my cat. I was left with the same feeling of elation and a little shakey in the knees. It was a great concert.

back to top of page