Monday, March 2, 2009

THE PRETENDERS at Stubb's BBQ 3-1-09

Well, I'll be starting with a rant because I have to get it out of my system. Feel free to skip to the next paragraph for musical content only. I promise this will be the one and only as I didn't create this blog to get up on a soapbox. However, when a line in the sand has been drawn...Stubb's BBQ is a restaurant/outdoor concert venue. The outdoor concert area has food/bar stations set up. Now, Chrissie Hynde is a vegetarian, everybody knows that. Good for her, to each his own, I say. While we were standing in line waiting to get in, a woman came over to the line with a hand out and said "Chrissie wants you guys to have this." It was a little blurb about anti-meat. I thought, if she wants to spend the money on this to help get her point across, so be it. After the gates opened and we got inside, we staked out our favorite spot to view the show from and headed to get a beer and our usual chopped beef sandwich. We got up to the counter to see a sign that said "no meat tonight." Another sign said "wheat roast sandwich" and "vegetarian tamale" available. Wait a minute, aren't we at a bbq joint in Texas? It seems to me both Chrissie Hynde and Stubb's BBQ sold their souls. And we, the paying customers, were the ones who got screwed.
I guess it's ok for Chrissie to say, sure, I'll play a bbq joint and take the money. But, oh by the way, make me feel a little better about it and force feed crap (trust me, I was starving and went for the wheat roast sandwich) down my fans' throats. And Stubbs, who is in the business of beef brisket, says, no problem Chrissie, we know we're going to make a nice profit on filling our space for your show so, sure, we will force your will on our customers. What is going on around here? Did I not just survive 8 years of George W. Bush only to have Chrissie Hynde now enforce what freedoms I can't have? Two things, #1 is I won't be seeing The Pretenders again and #2 I'm done with Stubb's. I think the whole thing is appalling, wrong on every level.
By the time The Pretenders took the stage I was none too happy. But then here they came, Chrissie threw that electric on, walked up to the mic and they blasted off into "Boots of Chinese Plastic!" All was forgiven. Sort of. Until I woke up this morning. Since it's my last Pretenders show ever, I am happy to say it was great! Chrissie was in fine form, full of energy. She's taken off much weight since I saw her last about 2 years ago (of course, if she's eating the nasty stuff I did last night, I can see why she'd lose so much) and was very active throughout the evening. She still has Martin Chambers with her on drums but everybody else in the band, lead, bass and pedal steel, are new.
The new record, Break Up The Concrete, was well represented in the show. Along with the title track and opening first single, we also got "Don't Cut Your Hair," "Love's A Mystery" and "Rosalee." There may have been others but I can't say for sure. We got some great classics: "Kid," "Talk Of The Town," Message Of Love," "Cuban Slide" and "Stop Your Sobbing." There were a few ballads but this was mostly a rocking show and Chrissie, at 57, does not appear to be slowing down. Her voice too, sounds just like it always did, clear, strong and full of attitude. To me, she has the classic female rock voice. Just like Patsy Cline and Kelly Willis were born to sing country, Chrissie was made for rock n roll.
The set lasted an hour and 20 minutes. After the set came 2 encores and the first one alone was worth the price of admission: "The Wait" followed by "Precious." These 2 songs were blistering and I mean blistering! Had there been a roof, it would have blown off! Everybody went nuts. It was a great 10 minutes. The second encore was 2 songs also but I don't remember what they were. I think I was still wrapped up in the first encore.

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