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August 7, Chula Vista, CA - Coors Amphitheatre

by J.G.

It was a beautiful summer night at the brand new facility located in Chula Vista, a state of the art venue with a sound & video system that knocks you out of your seat.

The Moon was full, it was Friday, and gentle desert breezes swept though the outdoor venue, it was truly the highlight of the Summer of 98 for the Southern California concert series. We had perfect center section seats, about 18 rows back from the stage.

The Pretenders surprised us all by going on before the B52's.

To say the least the Pretenders sounded fantastic. Chrissie's voice sounded so incredible and clear that it gave you goose bumps. I kept hearing fans in and around our section commenting on how great she sounded, and how blown away they were by her vocal abilities. Perhaps it's because she hasn't thrashed her vocal chords with over touring, but whatever it is, her pipes are in tip top shape. (Not to insinuate they were ever out of shape)

The stage was all done in white with four vertical cloth sections that hung as a backdrop, they also had 2 large white weather balloons anchored to the set, very contemporary, and polished with a clean sophisticated light show that complimented the music perfectly.

The band opened with Message of Love, that riff stopped us dead in our tracks as it started, and it was an indictor of what the night held in store.

Chrissie was warm and receptive to the audience, joking, and talking with the crowd like we have never seen her do before. She looked very happy, she wore her trademark black, with black suede like hot pants, cool boots, and a black Pretenders T-shirt with hot pink lettering. I also noticed the detail of a prominent silver wedding band on her left hand. She looked very self assured, and her skin and smile had a glow to it.

They moved through the set effortlessly, playing such hits as:

Night in my veins
Tattooed Love Boys---rocked the house
Talk of the Town
Don't get me wrong
My city was gone

She also premièred a cut off the new album, a spanish song, (sorry didn't catch the name) that she sung so effortlessly and accurately in spanish that the mexican folks in the audience gasped with awe because she delivered it so beautifully. The audience kept shouting of "Bella Senorita"!

While she was pacing the stage between songs, she said "Hey! I smell pot up here! Well you can pass that gadget up here" Everyone cheered, of course.

The ballads she chose for the evening were "Thin line between Love and Hate" which she delivered with some serious artistic conviction. Also a beautiful rendition of "Stand by You" from Last of the Independents.

She was talking with Martin, and he started the first couple of beats to "Middle of the Road", working the audience into a frenzy, then Chrissie reached for her Black sequenced top hat and I knew that was the cue to do some serious rocking out.

For the encore they did "Brass in Pocket" and for the hottest part of the show, Chrissie comes out and says to the crowd "Okay girls, were gonna dance, and get ready for the B's " ( I guess she noticed the many California girls in the front row with their floral mini dresses and Beehive hairdo's in homage to the B'52's)

She then proceeded to do a little dance routine that I would have never guessed she could or would have done. She's up there doing like this Texas two step shuffle, all the while Martin is playing the drum line to Mystery Achievement in the back ground, she can really dance, no Shit!

She got the whole audience up and out of there seats copying every move she made. She was doing some of the trademark moves that the B'52's perform. It was awesome. They then proceeded to Rip into Mystery Achievement.

This performance gets top scores. Although some have labeled it as a Retro 80's tour, there was certainly nothing dated about it.

The songs they selected for the night 's performance have only gotten better with time. You truly realize what a void there is in good fun loving Rock and Roll bands out there.

Chrissie and the boys went out there and showed them how it's done, (step aside Mariah, Celine, and Jewel) Many of today's "hot new artists" will continue to stand in the shadow of this kind of talent and artistic ability as long as this band continues delivering performances and recordings like they have been.

I can't wait for the next tour, I'll be there, and so should you.

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