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July 11, Antioch, TN - Starwood Amphitheater

by Terri the Terror as told to her by Paul P

The Pretenders seemed to really enjoy the Nashville audience last night (July 11, 1998). The "Starwood" open air amphitheatre was packed and the evening was kicked off by a New York band called Royal Crown Revue (with undertones of the big band era, Sinatra, two saxophones, trumpet, giant acoustic bass, etc.). They were good, "very Bronx", and everyone was waiting for "you know who"!

The Pretenders came on next (much to my surprise). Chrissie and the band were very well prepared and gave a tremendous performance, with a curtain call that just about brought the house down. The band was spontaneous and they were asking the audience what they should play next. Chrissie was spotting people she knew in the audience and waving, pointing, yelling, listening, etc. She said "because this looks like a rock audience, we'll go easy on the ballads". As a result they KICKED OUT many of the great old tunes of the past. One new song was introduced, which was excellent. Everything was superbly done! Adam Seymour seems to have "come out of his Isle of View shell". He is a world class guitarist in his own right (and he can sing too!!). Chrissie introduced Adam as "the ever annoying, but never rude Adam Seymour" (all in fun, of course)! Chrissie intentionally embarrassed Andy Hobson when she looked down at some of the girls up front and said "hey, this guy is available", and she made Andy walk out and stand in the spotlight for a minute. The band was obviously functioning as a close knit group of friends who really knew what they were doing, and they were obviously enjoying the evening as much as the audience was.

It was a very warm and humid evening in the rolling hills of central Tennessee. After a few songs, including "Middle of the Road", Chrissie was so hot she had to take off her jacket. When she did, everyone noticed she was dripping wet and the audience started hooting. She said "I wouldn't get too excited if I were you", and then looked at the shirt (which of course, was very long, soaked, and not tucked in) and said "it's a pretty good shirt". She stood in front of the fans for a minute and rolled up the sleeves, all the while trying to cool down a bit. Martin Chambers started pounding (and I do mean POUNDING) out a powerful drum solo. Chrissy put down her guitar and much to our surprise started doing the frug, the swim, the watusi, and every other dance step she knew with the white shirt tails flopping in the breeze from the on-stage blowers (and she went on and on, including a jig, a little of the Rockettes, and hopping on one foot). The audience was on their feet and literally screaming with laughter and matching her every step. She was really loving it. As Martin continued to pound, she picked up her guitar, turned to the band and with a signal dived into another number. It was a GOOD TIME for all! I was glad they were not doing an "all acoustic" evening like Isle of View, even though that was so well done.

The front seats were packed with executives from all of the record companies on Music Row and their families, numerous Nashville studio musicians, and other notables. The band was relaxed and superbly coordinated. They were really enjoying the eve, and the quality of the music was just as good as ever. Nashville got a real treat last night. None of this "If I had money, tell ya what I'd do, I'd go downtown and buy a Ford Truck (er two)".

At the end of the gig they did an encore consisting of three numbers, but the eve was cramped a little because the B-52's wanted to come on and I suppose they didn't want The Pretenders to steal the show (more about THAT later). The B-52's came on and it was fun for a moment or two, but then it all began sounding the same (shrieking, prancing around on stage, and the guy who marched around singing about outer space). Pretty BAD, actually. Not that it wasn't entertaining, but after a world class QUALITY band, the B-52's really were abrasive, out of tune, teeny-bopping, and didn't finish the evening off very well. By then many of the audience were feeling their liquor. The B-52's were fun to dance to, and that's what the audience did. It was two different performances, a superb music concert, and then a "sock hop".

Because of the B-52's the audience was a little more stratified than what I assume would be the norm for a Pretenders concert. Objectively there was really no question who put on the best show.

If The Pretenders came on AFTER the B-52's the evening would have been so rattled and sensitivities so strained, it would not have been as enjoyable. This is probably why they were first. As far as stealing the show, they most certainly did and there was NO question about it. The whole music industry in Nashville showed up to see how it was done. One guy behind me said "she's a female Tom Petty", another said "what do you mean, Tom can't hold a note like that"!

It was a fabulous evening, and people who can still get tickets out there really have something to get excited about. This is one heck of a tour. You WON'T be disappointed with The Pretenders. They are READY and they are having fun!

The above report is provided by Terri the Terror, as relayed to her by Paul P (see my fan page!). I took my time and pecked this out with my own paws. Woof! Woof!

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