by Gareth Trenchard Morgan
Before we start, the set list was:
Fools Must Die
Message of Love
Talk Of The Town
Time The Avenger
Everyday Is Like Sunday
Nothing Breaks Like A Heart
I Go To Sleep
Back On The Chaingang
Don't Get Me Wrong
Night In My Veins
Thin Line Between Love And Hate
I'll Stand By You
Stop your Sobbing
Brass In Pocket
It was a glorious July afternoon, for once reflecting the kind of English summer that I think this tour was aiming
to capture. Nostell gave a beautiful setting, the stage at the base of a slight hill, with the Priory House itself
high on the hill looking over the lawn and stage. The gates opened a little early as traffic was starting to block
the main road leading ino the grounds. An orderly queue formed by the entrance gate and was very subdued, all picnic
tables and chairs. When the gates did open, there was no sudden race for the stage, instead most people opted to
sit a way back and set out their tables and food. For those of us without such 'baggage' a spot right on the barrier,
infront of Chrissie's microphone was easy to obtain. It was so easy to get so close it was a little had to believe!
The sun beat down whilst Midge Ure took to the stage. He played a terific set, and the crowd really wanted to hear
more from him. However, once he left the stage and the black sheet came off Martin's Drum Kit to reveal the PRETENDERS
logo in all its glory, a buzz started around the audience and a load more came to the front. That drum logo was
the proof needed to tell us that THEY were on their way.
With the sun still shining, the mock 'thunderstorm' came out over the speakers and a silence fell over the Piory
grounds. This was soon puntured by an almighty roar as the band took the stage, Chrissie coming out last, dressed
in skin tight blue jeans, black boots, and a lilac short jacket. A few smiles and waves later they tore into 'Fools
Must Die'. I thought it was adventurous to start with an unknown song, but it went down well. Chrissie was having
a few guitar problems and half way through the song she took off her trademark blue/purple Fender (with the mirrored
pic-guard) and swapped it for an all white telecaster, which she played for the rest of the gig.
After 'Fools' it was straight into 'Message of Love' which set the night rocking! Then, off came the jacket to
reveal a black sleeveless vest top, and into Talk Of the Town'.
The band were incredibly tight, and the DSQ really added to the sound. Adam played some fantastic guitar, getting
a round of applause after the I Go To Sleep solo, and Chrissie has never sounded better. She looked great, displayed
some nifty footwork at the start of Mystery Achievement and was in great humour throughout! At one stage she even
responded to one guy's request for a photograph, by getting a security guy to pass his camera up to her. Chrissie
then took the pic of the guy standing by the barrier before passing it back to him. When he gets the pics back
that will certainly be a story to tell!
There was a very poignant moment just before 'Kid' when Chrissie dedicated the song to Jimmy and Pete, saying,
"If it wasn't for these two guys we would not be here today, and if it wasn't for us, they probably would
be." Makes you think doesnt it? Luckily Martin chipped in with something incomprehesible and the laughter
There was plenty of on stage banter, and plenty of friendly heckling from the audience which Chrissie really seemed
to be bouncing off of. Only at the very end did we get the " Meateaters go fuck off" rant, but by then
she had worked the audience into such a state of excitement and respect that no-one could be too offended.
The highlight for me was as Chrissie introduced 'Everyday Is Like Sunday' by saying "Not many of you may know
that we do this song." In the split second silence that followed I shouted "I do!" Chrissie turned,
took the guitar pic from between her teeth, looked me straight in the eye and said " So you do huh?"
before flicking the pic in my direction! And yes, I did get it!
The encores were as fantastic as the rest of the show. Someone even managed to get to the foot of the stage during
Ill Stand By you. Not phazed by this breach of security, Chrissie simply offered the invader the mic, held her
hand and let her share in the moment. What a giver!
In summary, Ive seen the band before but never have I known Chrissie to be on such good form, and working her fans
so well. There was plenty of stage edge walking, front row eye contact, acknowlegement of familiar faces and what
seemed to be a genuine concern that we were all having a good time. The performance was second to none, the band
tighter than her jeans, and the audience were definately reluctant to see them leave the stage after 'Brass in
The firework display was fantastic, and to top off the evening a very kind security guard even passed me Martin's
set list. What a day, the setting, the weather, the songs, the set list, and a guitar pic from the woman herself.
Sometimes I wonder if it was all a dream!