I had the great fortune of seeing the Pretenders the last two nights at the Northern Lights Theater on their visit to Milwaukee.
Northern Lights is a gem of a venue and there is not a bad seat in the house. The floor is all tables and booths, and there are five rows of seating in the balcony. I went from sitting dead center in the very last row of the balcony on Tuesday night to front row last night. There’s nothing like being in the front row for a band you love, and I love the Pretenders!
Thirty years after bursting onto the scene, Chrissy Hynde is still a rock goddess! The combination of her phenomenally seductive voice, a sexy, sassy and vibrant stage presence along with her amazing songwriting chops make Chrissy a total rock & roll heartthrob.
The shows were a seamless blend of the old and the new for this rock and roll hall of famer. At her best, Chrissy is frenetic intensity personified, and on this tour she is clearly at her best. Backed by an outstanding band, including original Pretender and drummer extraordinaire, Martin Chambers, Chrissy tore it up both nights.
It was electric from the git-go, as they opened with “Boots of Chinese Plastic” and “Don’t Cut Your Hair” from the new album, followed by “Talk of the Town” and “Message of Love.”
Both shows leaned heavily on last year’s Break Up the Concrete, which I think is the best album that came out in 2008. “Love’s a Mystery,” “Rosalee” and the title track may be new, but they are vintage Pretenders.
The old favorites were in abundance as well, and when Chrissy shed her guitar and stepped out for a sultry “Brass in Pocket” just a few feet from me, I thought I was gonna wet myself.
I was absolutely in my glory during smokin’ versions of “Kid,” “Don’t Get Me Wrong,” “Back on the Chain Gang,” “Precious” and last night’s encore of the Kinks’ “Stop Your Sobbing.”
After a five year hiatus from touring, Chrissy sounded as fresh and fabulous as the first time I saw her nearly thirty years ago.
I expect I’ll still be basking in the afterglow for a few more days…