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Review: Books, Theatre, Movies, Albums & Gigs.

The Pretenders

Liverpool Summer Pops
Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool
Monday July 9, 2007

Image: The Pretenders 2007

Review


Nostalgia’s a wonderful thing. Just rolling back the years to those days of yore when life seemed so uncomplicated and when bands such The Jam, The Police and, yes, The Pretenders were in their pomp, make one yearn for acne as though it were God’s blessing rather than Satan’s curse. Great days indeed that, judging by this performance by Chrissie Hynde and the latest manifestation of this early-eighties powerhouse rock band, are far from over. Class, as they say, lives on.

 


Strolling onto stage with a wave and a smile, The Pretenders set the mood from the off with a rock-based opener, Bad Boys, and so set the crowd alight from the outset.
With hits such as Talk Of The Town, Complex and Kid following quickly on, then the tone was writ large for what was to become a superb night out.

 

Ably backed by original member Martin Chambers on drums, “Dave Stewart” look-a-like, Adam Seymour on guitar and “Sid Vicious” mirror image, Nick Wilkinson on bass, it was Chrissie Hynde who controlled the show, with strong clear vocals, some wicked guitar playing – until it broke down mid-solo during Fools Must Die – and enough balls to delight even the most ardent of hecklers.

“ Nobody buys records anymore,” she said, seemingly to the one person who had bought the band’s latest album, Loose Screw. “If you do, you’re either rich, stupid or related to us. Me? I’m all in favour of bootlegging and downloading because it means I’ll have to be on the road the rest of my Goddamn life.”

Poignantly, the original members of the band who succumbed to excess, James Honeyman-Scott and Pete Farndon, were remembered by Hynde, verbally, and Chambers, physically, who pointed to the skies in acknowledgement as the singer mentioned their names and gave her thanks for their contributions.

Then it was on with the show, with highlights including I’ll Stand By You, Chain Gang and truly heart-rending version of Hymn To Her. Then, with the ballads out of the way, things picked up steam with Dylan’s Forever Young and a thumping rendition of Mystery, on which Seymour excelled, almost bending his guitar in half to hit the requisite notes, before a provocative Precious ended the proceedings proper.

omething missing? Of course and The Pretenders did not disappoint as they trundled back out to perform their two biggest and most recognisable songs, Better Stop Sobbing and Brass In Pocket, before a more depleted audience than anyone – let alone a band who had given their all and so well – deserved.

This was a high-octane night of eighties class, complete with errors, shenanigans and political messages about vegetarianism, bull fighting and peace, that sent those who remained until the death, home happy to their cocoa and bed.
8/10


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“Writing gets me away for a while' from this world and into one where I, alone, can make or
break the rules as I see fit.” - Chris High 2003.
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