Reviews

Chrissie Hynde: Kansas City - 16 November 2014

Chrissie Hynde’s stout-hearted, superb Kansas City show made a Sunday feel like a wild Saturday night. It’s no mystery as to why Chrissie Hynde still has skin in this rock and roll game.

Chrissie Hynde

Chrissie Hynde

City: Kansas City
Venue: Uptown Theater
Date: 2014-11-16

Chrissie Hynde banner photo copyright: Jill Furmanovsky

Chrissie Hynde’s stout-hearted, superb show made a Sunday feel like a wild Saturday night. Hynde was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with the Pretenders in 2005. Fittingly, Hynde proudly performed four songs from the Pretenders’ self-titled debut LP, a bona fide masterpiece: “Kid”, “The Phone Call”, “Precious”, and “Tattooed Love Boys”. But Hynde has gone down the lonely road with her solo album, Stockholm (2014).

Hynde’s standard 90-minute, 22-song set was most charitable: it featured a majority of the Pretenders’ hits – “Back On the Chain Gang”, “My City Was Gone” – just as it sufficiently italicized her solo LP. She ably performed eight tracks from Stockholm, not least three singles: “Dark Sunglasses”, “You Or No One”, and “Down The Wrong Way”. Moreover, Hynde’s repertoire revisited eight of the Pretenders’ studio albums, a veritable Herculean chore.

Highlights must include the double shot of ditties about Akron, Ohio – Hynde’s hometown – that occurred at the show’s midpoint. One of which, the somber and sarcastic “My City Was Gone” evolved into a Phish-like jam session, and the boozed-up audience happily danced about. “Downtown (Akron)”, from Packed! (1990), followed in the same vein.

Hynde, in fact, was under the weather, and noted as much. Her first three songs seemed a bit forced or rushed. She briefly mangled a lyric to “In a Miracle”, her first-played solo song. She owned up to it, soldiered on, and her Stockholm single “Down the Wrong Way” more than compensated, sans Neil Young. On a few occasions, her vocals were unclear; generally acoustics were fine. Hynde was backed by a well-oiled quartet, especially guitarist (and foil) James Walbourne.

The Pretenders’ catchier songs nearly exemplified a new wave/punk sound, and these were inarguably well-done. For instance: “Talk of the Town”, from Pretenders II (1981), “Don’t Get Me Wrong”, from Get Close (1986), and, of course, “Back On the Chain Gang”, from Learning To Crawl (1984). Hynde put noticeable emphasis on the guitar intro to the Honeyman-Scott tribute “Back On the Chain Gang”, as she took to the front of the stage to strum her glossy Telecaster with a certain savoir-faire.

Hynde could have played a whole slew of alternate tracks such as “Stop Your Sobbing”, “Brass In Pocket, “2000 Miles”, “Middle of the Road”, “Message of Love”, “Hymn to Her, “I’ll Stand By You”, or perchance her cover of the Beatles’ hit “Let It Be”. For sure, “Brass In Pocket”, in particular, was regrettably missed.

There’s a common saying that translates to “What’s on display, sells”. It’s no mystery as to why Chrissie Hynde still has skin in this rock and roll game.

Photo credit: William Carl Ferleman

Setlist

01 Don’t Lose Faith In Me

02 Biker

03 977

04 In A Miracle

05 Like In The Movies

06 Talk Of The Town

07 Kid

08 Sweet Nuthin’

09 You Or No One

10 Down The Wrong Way

11 A Plan Too Far

12 My City Was Gone

13 Downtown (Akron)

14 The Phone Call

15 Night In My Veins

16 Don’t Get Me Wrong

17 Back On The Chain Gang

18 Adding The Blue

Encore

19 I Go To Sleep (cover, The Kinks)

20 Precious

21 Tattooed Love Boys

22 Dark Sunglasses

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