When Chrissie Hynde walks onstage, you fucking stand up. The 57-year-old has had an admirable, albeit tough, run in the rock industry, being the only constant member of a band that despite its commercial success, has been plagued with problems, including the deaths of the original guitarist and bassist. Hynde is a tough chic.
The Pretenders played at Marymoor Park on Thursday, Aug. 27.
"We've been here a long time--30 years," she acknowledged wryly after the band took the stage. "You only get 20 for murder."Girl's been around a long time. She proved why with a 90-minute performance that pulled from the Pretenders' new album Break Up the Concrete and their extensive catalogue of past hits--or at least, Hynde's catalogue. (Guitarist James Walbourne and bassist Nick Wilkinson were surely still in diapers when "Talk of the Town" was recorded.) Hynde herself has admitted that the Pretenders has the feel of a tribute band to it, due to constant lineup changes. However, the age difference and new faces in the band didn't at all hinder last night's show from being a success.
Hynde--who looks and sounds as good as she did in her 20s--is explosive onstage. This is a woman who revels in the fact that she's a rock star. She was at absolute ease, whether she was playing wing woman for her bandmates ("Don't shake your tits at me, sister. Shake 'em at that guy. He likes big ones") or teasing the crowd ("I was hoping for more young men in the front, but I'll take what I can get.")
The Pretenders played a slew of songs from their heydey in the '80s, including "Back on the Chain Gang," "Don't Get Me Wrong," and my personal favorite, "Mystery Achievement." They also included a soaring cover of Juice Newton's hit "Angel in the Morning" that showed off Hynde's powerful vocals. The crowd reacted with enthusiasm to fast-tempo new tracks as well, catcalling as Hynde strutted back and forth across the stage during rockabilly-infused tunes like "Boots of Chinese Plastic."
"You want something a little cheesy and trite?" she asked with a grin at the end of the night. "Of course you do, or you wouldn't be here." The band then launched into their enormous hit "Brass in Pocket." As the crowd erupted into cheers, Hynde best summed up the night herself, proudly declaring: "Pretty fucking good, huh?"
Yes, you fucking are.