by Jeff Huhtala
Royal Crown Revue started the show, the evening weather was perfect with a real festival atmosphere due to the
B-52-dressed wannabes. RCR did well but the crowd response was reserved. Then came a 15-20 minute intermission
with some classical music on the sound system which got the crowd itchy for rock and roll. The Pretenders came
out and kicked ass! Chrissie just has the stage presence to fire up the audience. People sang along, especially
with "Back on the Chain Gang" and "Brass in Pocket", which they encored with. The B-52's were
the headliners, and they put on a good show, but not a great show like the Pretenders. Why they aren't the headliners
I don't know, and I heard a lot of people express that same opinion. A noticeable number of show-goers left before
the 52's were done, including me. It was just sort of anti-climactic compared to the real band performance. The
Pretenders alone were well worth the price of admission. Anybody that has the chance should see them on this tour
because they are in fine form, and Chrissie was in fine voice!......
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
I saw The Pretenders at Shoreline in Mountain View, CA last night and it was an incredible show. Chrissie was
great - she cracked a lot of jokes in between songs, like, "They wouldn't take us on the Lilith Fair because
we're mostly guys."
Her band, including Martin the original drummer, f'in' rocked the place. I couldn't believe they were opening for
the B52's, but that was OK since we left and got home early. : ) Don't get me wrong, the B52's are great, but...
they're no Pretenders!
The current guitarist is fantastic, I don't know much about him except that I saw him play with the orchestra on
their recent Ovation tv special. He played a different guitar on each song and rocked the place, I'm guessing it
was 18,000 people? He received well-deserved applause at the end of most of his guitar solos. You have to give
credit to Chrissie and the original Pretenders (incl James and Pete) for writing these incredible guitar parts.
They are a joy to watch (and play live). During several songs I got a lump in my throat and was on the verge of
crying, mainly for joy!
During the bass and drum intro to Mystery Achievement, Chrissie said she would do all her B52-type dances and it
was G.D. HILARIOUS! She did the swim, the monkey, the twist, the jerk, the shy tuna, you name it. She said, "There's
life in the old girl yet," quite an understatement. All evening long she played her custom Fender Telecaster
with pearl white finish. (I wonder whatever happened to the old blue Tele she played in the old days? It must be
worth a pretty penny now.)
She also introduced the bass player, telling the ladies that he was the only one in the band "available",
and "worth your while from what I've heard". She also joked and teased Martin, saying it was like going
out on tour with "your dad". His drumming has lost none of its power! She wore black jeans, black boots,
and a black Pretenders concert t-shirt. For one song she donned a black sequined top hat, but took it off soon.
Overall, she looked fantastic.
For the encore, she came out and sang "I'll Stand By You," which is a weepy kind of song, but she sang
it to a huge black male security guard posing tough by the front row, so she had the whole place cracking up, including
said security guard. You could see their faces courtesy of the giant projection screen, and it was a moment I'll
never forget. They closed the evening with "Brass in Pocket" aka "Special".
I had seen her years ago in some interviews and she came off kind of bitchy - she almost became Mrs. Sid Vicious
way back when, and went through a divorce with another British pop icon - but she really won me over last night.
I love her. This music means a lot to me. The crowd fell in love with her too. I know she's currently married,
has kids, and is a vegetarian. As far as I'm concerned, she is the rock diva of my generation.