The Pretenders, Gig Review. Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * * *

Those of a certain age will remember fondly The Pretenders bursting onto the music scene in 1979 with The Kinks supremo Ray Davies’s song Stop You Sobbing, then quickly following up with many a fan’s favourite Kid and their most well-known song Brass In Pocket. New Wave music at its best!

It was a glorious time to buy music, audiences had another female fronted Rock band, crowds were spoilt, Blondie and The Pretenders recording equally classic Pop songs; the people who went to see the shows were not just spoilt, they were there at the start of a new dawn.

With a show fit for an Arena transported to the cosy feel and sound appreciation demand of the Philharmonic Hall, many would have felt that same sense of being spoilt once again as The Pretenders came to Liverpool once again.

Chrissie Hynde is more than a legend; she’s an institution now and has a voice that is as unique and utterly recognisable as it is beautiful. As good as she is on record or the digital world that many inhabit, she’s even better live, I’ll Stand By You was awesome; the legend plays a mean guitar too.

Ms. Hynde comes across as a genuinely engaging person with a love of Liverpool and Beatles, confessing to have done the Magical Mystery Tour Bus on the Monday; that love thrilled the audience as at one point broke into Tomorrow Never Knows.

All the hits were played and songs that that have captured the imagination since; it is possible to forget how many brilliant songs you instinctively know from their repertoire!

Songs such as Back on the Chain Gang, Middle of the Road, Don’t Get Me Wrong as well as the previously mentioned singles from 1979 all rolled off the memory banks and into the vocal cords, the urge to sing along a demand felt by many in the Philharmonic Hall.

The band were superb, James Walbourne from The Rails especially, stepping into previous guitarists of the band’s shoes like they were made for him.

The sense of relief felt as Ms. Hynde gave the signal that it was O.K. to get up and dance would have been palpable, the sense of joy as the audience was able to stop twitching on the end of their seats and finally let loose was physically uplifting.

A truly fabulous night of music, Liverpool once more happily spoilt in the form of a great evening out.

John Jenkins.