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July 17, Cuyahoga Falls, OH - Blossom Music Center

by Karen de

I think The Royal Crown Revue deserves an honorable mention. They are truly an energetic band (a little loud, though). My husband, Michael & I caught the last 10 minutes of their set. We'll be sure to catch their entire set when they return to Philadelphia (my home town) for the re scheduled date hopefully sometime in August. If you don't recall, that was the show that was cancelled on 6-26 due to a power loss. I certainly haven't forgotten and I know Taunia & LB haven't either.

The excitement was building when the opera music started to play. One by one the Pretenders came on stage. The front section was on their feet and remained standing for most of the entire set with the exception of two songs in which Chrissie had asked the audience to sit so that her parents could see during "Thin Line Between Love & Hate" and "Hymn to Her".

I have to apologize for not keeping track of the songs. I probably left out one or two of them because I was too engrossed in the performance. It seemed the time went by so quickly.

Legalize Me (I couldn't make out some of the lyrics but it rocks. It gives all of us something to look forward to in October.)
Message of Love
Night in My Veins
Talk of the Town
Thin Line Between Love & Hate
Hymn to Her (Chrissie mentioned that her classmate, Meg Keene formerly known as "Becky Keene" wrote this.)
Don't Get Me Wrong
My City Was Gone (Of course, the crowd went nuts & Adam nailed this one right on. He's flawless.)
Middle of The Road (Chrissie asked Martin if he noticed that the Royal Crown Revue's drummer had done a solo and now Martin had his chance to do the same during the intro. to this. Martin, as always is a crowd pleaser.)
Mystery Achievement (Chrissie did her B-52's dance moves to the intro. & danced very well, I might add.)
Brass In Pocket (Chrissie let Denise in the first row sing along with her then invited Lee onstage, both Denise & Lee did a superb job, I would have been speechless.)

This is probably their best performance I have seen to date. The band was tight and energized by the crowd. Chrissie really seemed happy to be back in her home town which she made many references to. In the early part of their set, she said ,"It's great to see so many familiar faces-there's my 12th grade teacher". She also made a comment that Ohio is "Rock and Roll Central". Chrissie looks incredible, she never seems to age. I'll be 33 and I'm starting to look older than she is now.

We stayed around to see The B-52's perform a few of their songs. They had a more elaborate stage set-up which included dancers some of which I understand, were locals. They are an entertaining band and I found myself dancing along to their music. We then decided to leave because we were getting tired & wanted to avoid all the post-concert traffic.

We had the pleasure of meeting fellow list members, Scott & Crystal who also travelled a great distance-MUCH further than we did. I love your daughter's drawing on the Kids' Page, I meant to tell you that. Also, I was glad to meet Nikki & Denise (the lucky one who had the chance to sing part of "Brass in Pocket" with Chrissie and was handed the set list from Chrissie herself). Last but not least, Lee who came all the way from Rochester, NY & accompanied Chrissie on stage. I have an extra copy of The Beacon Journal in which you're featured, just in case nobody believes you back home.

I can honestly say that the 420 mile trip to Akron was well worth the drive, just to see the Pretenders perform in Chrissie's home town was an experience in itself. Of course, one of the highlights was visiting with LB & Taunia at The Archives, it's like being in Pretenders' Heaven, simply incredible. I don't know how they keep track of all their collectibles, they should open a museum.

We also ate at Luigi's Pizza (one of Chrissie's favorite places, I'm told & now it's one of ours too). Chrissie was right when she told the audience at The Blossom, "You are the nicest people in the world". The natives are definitely friendly in Akron, if you have a chance to visit, I think you'll agree.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

by LB

The first person we saw after entering the venue was Lee, the guy we'd joined in the front row at the Darien, NY show. He'd driven in from Rochester, NY to see this show. Lee had been trying to meet Chrissie since the band's first album was released. He'd ended up with front row tickets for this show, the dog!

We walked down to the pavilion and came across another friend, Denise, the one in our Fan Pages section who has the tattoo, and Nikki, who photographed the tattoo. They also had front row for the show.

The band took the stage to overwhelming, standing applause. Chrissie hesitated for just a moment in order to acknowledge the crowd, then picked up her guitar and they broke into Legalise Me. Some of the crowd sat down at this point.

But when they started Message of Love, everyone got up on their feet. The whole crowd was singing along and there was actually an audible number of folks who did the "beep beep" bit along with Martin.

Night In My Veins was up next and as far as I remember, she got all the lyrics right! They went right through that song and took the crowd with them. Before they began Kid, Chrissie started in on how it was for the old fans. And the younger people in the audience. Then she realized this was silly and said, "It's for everybody!" and added the Pete and Jim dedication.

Before they did Hymn To Her, Chrissie said they were going to do a song by a schoolmate of hers named Meg Keene, except back then she was Becky Keene. The whole crowd had been up and moving for the set, either bouncing up and down or swaying side to side until Hymn To Her. Most everyone was standing until Chrissie said, pointing, "If you sit down, my parents can see". People were dropping like flies until the end of the song, trying to get out of her parents' way, even though few people would have actually been in their way. It was pretty funny to watch - once someone realized that they were the last one on the edge of the standers, with the people next to them now sitting, they'd drop into their seat - then the next person, previously oblivious, would notice that he was the last person standing, and so on...

We got through Thin Line, then everyone popped up for Don't Get Me Wrong.

For the intro to My City Was Gone, Chrissie named some local cities and towns, stepped away from the mic and thought for a moment, then stepped back up and asked something like, "Who did I forget?" She checked with people in the audience, then she went back to the microphone and added the ones she'd left out. Blossom is actually in Cuyahoga Falls so the crowd was already insane with the anticipation of hearing it named in the song. The whole audience was singing, it was incredible. It was like that for the rest of their set.

When they came back out for the encore, Chrissie again soaked up the adoration before picking up the microphone, crouching down and sweeping her arms to indicate the entire crowd, saying, "You are the nicest people in the WORLD!". It came straight from her heart.

Then she signaled over to Lee to come up onstage! (She did this in Detroit, too. I think it was during Hymn To Her. But it was different because that guy, John, was just some guy who wanted to come up and stand there.) Lee stood there with her, singing Brass, then she let Denise sing the audience participation part of the song. At the end of the show, Chrissie ripped off her set list and gave it to Denise. Adam came over and handed her his guitar pick.

Some comments made during the show...

When they were going through the band member introductions, Adam accepted the honours to introduce CH. "Chrissie Hynde on guitar and singing. She writes the songs." Then Chrissie added, practically having to yell over the applause and screaming from the crowd, "Also known as Terry Hynde's little sister."

"It's so good to be back in the Mecca of rock and roll. They think they're so cool on the West Coast and in New York. But believe me, I've been there, and this <pointing, smiling and nodding, indicating where she was now> is Rock and Roll Central!"

"It's so good to see so many familiar faces. In fact, they're all familiar faces - there's my 12th grade teacher, there's people I saw from my days as a waitress. Would you like butter or sour cream? I don't know, I'd never eat it myself. Who's laughing _now_?"

After she did her B's dance routine during the intro for Mystery Achievement, she imitated R. Crumb's "Keep on truckin'" character and said, "Keep on truckin', Buckeyes!"

I brought my father to the show. He's never been to a concert, but he's been listening to my Pretenders records for 18 years. He's 56 years old and had a heart transplant back in '93. He told me after the show that his hands were sore from him clapping so much (I laughed at him then, but mine were sore the next day!) and that he couldn't believe how loud it was. He said, "That sound - it just goes right through you - it's a good thing they sewed my heart in!" There was another older guy in the front row - right in front of the speakers. He seemed to be older than my father, but man, he was dancing and playing air guitar and rocking out - it was too cool a night. Funny about that, my dad can stand up for the entire show, but no one in Detroit can.

This review seems kind of lame, but the whole experience - the performance, the atmosphere, the vibe - is a hard one to put into words. It was magical.

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