red lights

The Pretenders Come Clean

The Pretenders
Chicago Theatre
Chicago, IL
Feb. 15, 2003
The Pretenders
Chrissie Hynde moves the masses.

Review by Anita Lande
Photos by Niva Bringas

Chicago was glad to be back with their old friends from the chain gang. Chrissie Hynde and The Pretenders held court for their sold out show at the Chicago Theatre. Chrissie, dressed in jeans and an off-white jacket, which she later took off to reveal a black cotton T-shirt, played her guitar with a renewed enthusiasm. She was backed by her able and ready four piece band. She led off the night with "Lie to Me" off of their latest album Loose Screws. Chrissie and the band performed "Complex Person," "You Know Who Your Friends Are" and the moving ballad "The Losing" with a veteran rockers aplomb. At times moving and other times jarring the music knew it's course was set after the first note.
The Pretenders But, it was the classic hits that finally got most of the crowd on its feet starting with the haunting "My City Was Gone." Chrissie, being the liberal that she is, made some references about problems with the pending war with Iraq. During the last verse of "My City Was Gone" Chrissie decided to change the lyrics to..."The government is fucking up the whole country" which the crowd, who obviously didn't vote for Bush, applauded loudly.
Chrissie also played a little with the audience. During her hit "Don't Get Me Wrong," before the start of the last verse, she looked back at her band and yelled "Stop Playing!" Then she turned to the audience and said she wanted to sing the last verse "Frank Sinatra" style. Chrissie swung her guitar over her back and paced the stage, swinging her hips and singing in a beaten-up blusey-style to finish the song. The crowd ate it up. "I'll Stand By You," "Talk of the Town," "Biker" and "Middle of the Road" were a few other gems the band performed during the show.
Fans have been waiting for a new album since 1999, and Loose Screws delivers some reggae-style songs with hard hitting lyrics dealing mostly with relationships that have gone wrong. Being in the business over twenty-five years, Chrissie proves that her songs still can rock, and she still has some brass in her pockets that she uses quite nicely.

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