Monday, June 26, 2017

The Pretenders @ Salle Pleyel, Paris - June 26th, 2017

The last Pretenders album was a band effort in name only. It was recorded by Chrissie Hynde and some session musicians. But then Pretenders has been Chrissie's toy for a while now. Thankfully, the touring unit saw the return of Martin Chambers, and any concerns one may have had about his playing turned out to be unfounded: the veteran drummer was great through the whole show. The other musicians also played their parts perfectly.
But the supporting cast matters very little. Mark E. Smith said about his own band the fall: "If it's me and your grandma on the bongos, it's The Fall". Similarly, if you're seeing Chrissie Hynde on a stage, you're seeing The Pretenders.

The Pretenders played a solid set full of those classic songs that have served as the soundtrack of three generations: Back On The Chain Gang, Brass In Pocket, Kid, Mystery Achievement, The Wait, Message Of Love, I'll Stand By You, Middle Of The Road and her cover of the Kinks' Stop Your Sobbing were all played tonight as well as a generous serving of the Pretenders' excellent new record Alone.

The Salle Pleyel, formerly a State-funded classical music temple, was very close to being full. And Chrissie Hynde, rock legend, feminist icon, vegan activist and all-around badass can turn up in that venerable old art-deco theatre in jeans and a t-shirt and drop f-bombs during her stage banter yet still manage to class up the joint.

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