Monday, April 3, 2017

The Pretenders at Terminal 5

Chrissie Hynde & John McEnroe
Originally from Akron, Ohio, Chrissie Hynde wandered through the United Sates, France and the United Kingdom until 1973, when she settled in London, England, working for a music newspaper and a punk clothing store. After a few bands went nowhere, she began sorting out her own music briefly with drummer Gas Wilde of Hereford, England, and by 1978 had solidified a band comprised of three musicians from Hereford. Hynde named the band the Pretenders after the Platters song "The Great Pretender." After the drug-related deaths of two band members in the early 1980s, the lineup changed frequently until the Pretenders went on hiatus in 1988. Hynde revived the brand name in 1990 using session musicians until she assembled a new lineup in 1993. The Pretenders became dormant again in 2012, and Hynde launched a solo career in 2014. The Pretenders' 10th and most recent album, Alone, released on October 21, 2016, was essentially Hynde's second solo album with session musicians. She then reconvened the most recent Pretenders line-up in 2016 to promote the album, with Hynde on vocals and guitar, James Walbourne on lead guitar, Eric Heywood on pedal steel, Nick Wilkinson on bass, and Martin Chambers returning on drums.

The Pretenders are on tour supporting Stevie Nicks, but found a night off to headline at Terminal 5 tonight. Perhaps because of the opening band slot, this Pretenders tour was a greatest hits package, with 13 of the 19 songs originating from the band's peak period in the 1980s. At first tonight, Hynde sounded as if she had lost her signature vocals. It took about four songs before that distinctive voice made its way to the forefront and proved that it retained the same refinement of the past. Although born in the punk era, the Pretenders now sounded more like a classic rock band, with precise guitar chops and super-clean vocals gyrating around strong pop melodies. On softer songs like "I'll Stand By You," the Pretenders sounded more like a commercial power ballads band. Ricky Peterson replaced Heywood on keyboards tonight, and all that the Pretenders did, the band did slickly. For a finale, John McEnroe joined the Pretenders on lead guitar, and Hynde announced a lifting of the ban against photography at the concert. But why was there a ban in the first place?

Visit the Pretenders at
  1. Alone
  2. Gotta Wait
  3. Message of Love
  4. Private Life
  5. Down the Wrong Way (Chrissie Hynde song)
  6. Hymn to Her
  7. Talk of the Town
  8. Back on the Chain Gang
  9. Stop Your Sobbing (The Kinks cover)
  10. I'll Stand by You
  11. Don't Get Me Wrong
  12. My City Was Gone
  13. Mystery Achievement
  14. Middle of the Road
  15. Brass in Pocket

  1. Let's Get Lost
  2. Thumbelina
  3. Up the Neck
  4. Precious