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February 8 - Boston, MA - Orpheum Theatre

by Caroline Phillips

When I received my tickets in early December, it felt as if the date written on them, February 8th, 2003, would never come. At the time, it just seemed so very far away. Fortunately, the three months passed quickly, and before I realized it, I was awake at 4:00 on February 8th, tossing and turning in bed after a long night spent unable to sleep in anticipation.

The ride from our small town in Central Maine to Boston seemed to take and eternity. I put on several Pretenders tapes on the ride down, every song making me more and more excited. I had a very hard time sitting still, and I’m sure I was driving my family practically insane talking about the concert. After about three and a half hours, we reached Boston, checked into our hotel, and wandered around the city for a considerable part of the afternoon. It’s interesting for me to be in a city as big as Boston. It’s a lot different from anything in Maine. The largest city here is Portland, and it’s tiny compared to a city like Boston. It broke my heart to see all of the homeless people, though. :-(

When 6:30 finally rolled around, we headed to the Orpheum Theater, I in my awesome Tarkus-made shirt (woohooo!), and a jacket covered in pins and patches. As soon as I saw the sign above the theater door reading “The Pretenders”, that was it. I guess it was then that it actually hit me that I’d be seeing my favorite band in a matter of hours. I was practically laughing and crying at the same time as we walked into the theater. I wandered around for a while, looking at the merchandise, and seeing if I knew anyone there, before heading to my seat, which ended up being better than I expected. It was neat looking around, knowing that everyone was there to see The Pretenders, that everyone (well, almost everyone...I did hear some people saying some incredibly stupid things) there was a fan. I mean, I hardly ever meet, in person, people who are into the Pretenders, and there I was, surrounded by Pretenders fans. Crazy. I would have loved to strike up a conversation with many of the people there, but, as Morrissey once sang, “Shyness is nice, and shyness can stop you from doing all the things in life you’d like to.” Haha.

The All Mighty Senators hit the stage at a little bit past 7:30. I had never heard of them before, and they were pretty good. I thought it was neat how the lead singer was also the drummer. I can imagine that it would be difficult to sing and play drums at the same time. They got quite a few people up and dancing. My seat wasn’t bad at all, and with binoculars, it looked like I was up near the front of the stage. As soon as the opening band started, though, I knew I’d be trying to make my way up closer to the front for Chrissie, Martin, Adam, and Andy.

When The All Mighty Senators left the stage, they started bringing out The Pretenders’ equipment - Martin’s drum set, the guitars, etc. During the intermission, Mandy, who I hadn’t been able to find before the concert, came up and found me. She had a friend with her, who she introduced me to, and we talked excitedly for a few minutes before getting back to our seats.

After a half an hour or so, the lights dimmed, the crowd went crazy, the band walked out coolly, and I started screaming and laughing hysterically. They all looked so great, Chrissie wearing what she wore for the Letterman show - her light colored jacket, a tie, tight blue jeans, her cool boots, necklaces, and the handkerchief that says “CH” or “Chrissie” (I can’t remember which...) sticking out of her back pocket. She looked VERRRRRRY sexy, as always! Whoo! I’m sort of blanking out about what the guys were wearing. I think I was entranced, heh. They’re such a coooool looking band, you know? I mean, they’ve just got such a unique, awesome look. No, I’m not obsessed....ha.

They launched into a rockin’ version of “Lie To Me”, sounding perfect right from the beginning of the show. I think the song sounds great live, I’m not all that crazy about the effects on Chrissie’s voice in the studio version. The audience was standing from the very first song, pissing off the few people who didn’t feel up to getting on their feet. It seemed like people were standing for most of the show, sitting down only during a few of the more quiet songs. By the time they played “Talk of The Town”, I had moved down towards the stage and was standing to the side of the aisle. I had a GREAT view, and I managed to stay there for a few of the songs before an evil security person came up to me and asked to see my ticket stub. Although I knew just where I had put it, I pretended that I couldn’t find it in order to stay where I was. I usually don’t do things like that, but hey.... I wanted to be as close as possible. The security person told me that I knew where my seat was, and to go back to wherever I was sitting. And so I did just that - for around 30 seconds. As soon as the coast was clear, I moved up again, and succeeded in remaining there.

The band sounded AMAZING. I was totally in awe, and I still am! They all sounded perfect. I’ve got to say that I think quite a few of the “Loose Screw” songs sound better live, “Fools Must Die”, and “Lie To Me” in particular. Chrissie’s voice is SO FUCKING AMAZING. WOW. Adam is such an incredible guitarist... he amazes me. At one point, Martin threw a drumstick way behind him, and automatically pulled out another one and kept on playing. Andy sounded wonderful, too, and Zeb's keyboards sounded great.

Everyone cheered when Chrissie took off her jacket, revealing her black shirt, the sleeves held up by safety pins. After this, she asked “Do you want to know how to get a body like this?” The crowd screamed some more, and she said “Eating, sleeping, and fucking. Well, that’s how I did it, anyway.”

About half way through the concert, while I was in the aisle hiding from the security people, Mandy and her friend came running up to me. Mandy’s friend handed me her ticket stub, and told me that she wanted me to take her front row seat!! I was, and am, really, really incredibly, totally, completely, etc. appreciative! I am FOREVER thankful to her and Mandy. I was nearly crying by the time we got to the front of the stage. It was AMAZINGLY PERFECT! I couldn’t believe that I was actually THERE, that close to the band. It felt like a dream, and it still does. It was sooooo awesome to be so close....Chrissie was practically right in front of Mandy and me the entire time. It was crazy to watch her, right there in front of me, singing and strutting around the stage, her hands moving up and down the neck of the guitar, her foot tapping on the stage three feet from me. I don’t think I stopped grinning the entire time I was up there. Even as I was singing to all of the songs I had a gigantic smile on my face. I was “stunned and amazed”.

Am I boring anyone? Sorry this is so long.....I just can’t get over it. :-)

After performing “Complex Person” (I think), Chrissie said something about her Colombian husband. She said that when she married him she was thinking that she could get all the cocaine she wanted. Then she said something like, “no, I don’t really do drugs. I just say I do so my kids won’t do them.” Then, she sort of stepped towards the edge of the stage, looked directly at Mandy and me, and mouthed “I don’t do drugs!” She talked to us! Crazy!

I ended up getting one of Chrissie’s picks and one of Adam’s!! At one point, I think it was somewhere around the time they played “Middle of the Road”(with Martin’s awesome intro, of course!), she threw her pick down right on the stage in front of us. Mandy grabbed it and handed it to me! Towards the end of the concert (I’m thinking that it was before one of the two encores), Adam took a handful of picks and threw them to the audience. We picked up a few of those. It was so cool!

Chrissie made several hilarious remarks, most of which I can’t remember. I think I am getting Alzheimer’s early. Here are some I can remember: Before “The Losing”, she said that Martin had fun gambling at the Casino the night before, and told him “I’m glad you’ve got a hobby.” She dedicated “You Know Who Your Friends are” (which I requested and heard on the radio today! Whoo!) to anyone in rehab. She said something about her “beautiful hometown of Akron, Ohio” before my city was gone, and changed “by a government that has no pride” to something to the effect of “by a government that fucks up everything...” Before “Biker”, she was talking about how “sports suck”, and how “it must be a guy thing.” She said something like “Do you go to baseball games? Fuck ‘em. How about the football stadium? Fuck it.” She introduced the song as being about a guy who’s not into sports and is in love with her. Towards the middle of the show, someone threw a huge ring onto the stage, and she bent down and put it on. After receiving bouquets from some women, she said something like “None of these are from guys, by the way. Why don’t guys bring me flowers? Do I look like a lesbian?" During the beginning of “Mystery Achievement”, she flaunted her dance moves. She’s so funny. I just love her, and she’s so damn ADORABLE, too!

Some of the highlights of the show, for me, were “Up The Neck”, “Precious”, “Lie To Me”, “Message of Love”, “You Know Who Your Friends Are”, “The Wait” (!!!!!!), “Rebel Rock Me”, "Time The Avenger", “Talk of The Town”, “The Losing”, “Middle of The Road”..... This could go on forever. I guess they were all highlights. ;-)

It was the most perfect night I’ve ever had. It was totally amazing!!!!

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