by John Van Leur
We made it back in time from the show last night in Vancouver to check out the Space Needle. On walking back
to our car, my wife heard "Private Lives" as we passed a small bar called Zak's near the Needle. Of course,
we had to stop in to see who would be playing this great Pretenders' song. It turned out the bartender was a big
Pretenders fan and the bar had the band's first album among their CD selections. After pounding a few beers and
playing the rest of the album, we tried to talk the bartender into going to the show but, unfortunately, she had
to work both Saturday and Sunday nights. My cousin, Tony, had saved both Seattle papers from Friday each of which
had good articles about The Pretenders and their upcoming performances at the Moore Theater. After our brutal night
in Vancouver, we were fired up for these shows and we considered our good experience at Zak's a good omen.
The Moore is an older theater which allegedly had structural damage caused by earthquakes and floods. I can attest
to the fact as the ends of all rows were sloped and several people took tumbles during the band's two performances.
The bar was down in a smoke-filled basement which was also difficult to navigate through. It was alleged that Saturday
night's show was sold out but I did see some empty seats.
The All Mighty Senators opened once again. Out of the five shows I would see on this tour, this night was the best
show I saw. They had almost the entire crowd up especially for their last three numbers. "Giant Steps"
was great as Landis weaved his magic spell on the crowd. Craig pranced all over the stage with his cowbell to the
roar of the masses. Warren, Jack, and Dave were exceptional as always. They even had a number of their fans that
came from back East to catch their show. The band hails from Baltimore and they have a number of dates coming up
out East in the next month plus they are going to be playing at the New Orleans Jazz Festival in early May which
is the perfect place for this party band. Please check out their web site for more info as they are definitely
worth the price of most admissions.
As always on this tour, The Pretenders opened with "Lie To Me", but they changed the second song from
"Know Who Your Friends Are" to "My Baby" and the crowd fired up when Andy led them in the clap
along. Like Vancouver, the band was clearly enjoying themselves and unlike Vancouver, the crowd was on their feet
almost the entire show. When I saw The Pretenders were playing two shows in Seattle and only one in a strong Pretender
town of Chicago, I was a little pissed. I could see their playing two shows in Frisco or Deigo but Seattle? Even
though neither show sold out, the fans on both nights were rocking and they were rewarded with great performances.
Although I would have liked to see two shows in Chicago and more in the Midwest, I am dropping my bitch about Seattle
not being worthy of two gigs.
I knew the band would have to alter their show for the two nights in Seattle, but I never expected to see a full
show without them performing either "Brass in Pocket" or "Back on the Chain Gang" as they did
on Saturday night .There was no performance of "Kid" in any of the three nights I saw them out West or
"Stop Your Sobbing". They did do "Tattooed Love Boys" and "Rebel Rock Me" which I
know they didn't both nights in the Midwest.
Chrissie fucked with the crowd for most of the night and was clearly enjoying herself. She ripped into the Seattle
sports teams and to Americans everywhere before launching into "Fools Must Die". She is getting some
bad press for allegedly saying at some show that she hoped the Muslims would win the war. As I've said, I've been
to five shows on this tour and know that Chrissie is very anti-war, BUT I never heard her say what is being alleged
on radio and in some papers. As some of you may have heard, the Dixie Chicks got in hot water for remarks they
made about the war while on tour in London and were forced to issue an apology. It's pretty obvious what Chrissie
thinks of the United States' policies having expatriated to England many years ago and you can hear it in the lyrics
of her songs especially "Show Me" what she feels about war so I don't think she'll be apologizing for
anything any time soon.
One thing she'll never need to apologize for is the band's music. Even though they were joking around between songs,
they continued to just kick ass with their music. Chrissie introduced Martin as "the greatest drummer in rock
and roll" and who the fuck would argue that fact. To see this man perform live is amazing and to know he's
been doing this (with a brief hiatus) for twenty-five years is unbelievable. Although Blair was also an exceptional
drummer, the best move Chrissie EVER made was getting Martin back in the band. Although they no longer let him
wing his drumsticks out into the audience, his playing is a sight to behold and an experience to relish. To listen
to The Pretenders music is great but to see them perform live is awewsome. I estimate that I've seen this great
band perform around fifty times in about fifteen different States and I thought I was the only nut case out there
until I started going on the Archives. I am in the process of trying to organize and promote a 25th Anniversary
concert and convention in the Bahamas or - don't get pissed - Chicago for later on this year. There is nothing
special planned for the band for their 25th anniversary so I think this would be a great idea. I have submitted
a 40 page proposal to band management so I hope it will work out. If it does happen, keep checking the Archives
as they'll be the first ones to get all the details.
One thing that I know for sure that is going to happen is that there will be a DVD out soon documenting this recent
tour. They shot concert footage in LA and Seattle, interviewed all band members (including four hours with Chrissie),
followed some of the band to the Belltown Billards (where John Nelson took great care of us) after the first show
in Seattle and interviewed many fans - myself included - along the way. They are in the editing process now and
hope to have the video released by the target date of April 15th.
In closing, I guess I've proved once again that it is impossible for me to do an unbiased review of a Pretenders'
concert but my cousin, Tony, who was only seeing them for the second time, paid them a great tribute by stating
it was one of the best shows he had ever seen. Knowing that he has been an avid concert goer throughout his 51
years, I rest my case.