Pretenders 2017 were sounding like Pretenders I remembered from the 80s on their current Australian tour.
Original members Chrissie Hynde and Martin Chambers have rounded out the band with Nick Wilkinson (bass since 2005), James Walbourne (lead guitar since 2008) and Eric Heywood (guitar since 2008).
The last few Pretenders Australian tours lacked the original energy of the band but this band is back rocking in 2017.
Pretenders earned their stripes with the first two albums ‘Pretenders’ and ‘Pretenders II’. The songs from those albums plus ‘Middle of The Road’ from 1984’s ‘Learning To Crawl’ are the backbone of every set to this day. ‘Learning To Crawl’ was the hybrid album that started the path for the more contemporary era of the band with songs like ‘Don’t Get Me Wrong’ and ‘Back On The Chain Gang’. When the band softened, their appeal widened as radio friendly songs like ‘I’ll Stand By You’ were easy for pop radio to place at the time. That second era of the band built the greatest hits. This show divided both eras equally then added a couple of new songs from 2016’s ‘Alone’ to keep the band relevant. Placing ‘Alone’ and ‘Gotta Wait’ at the start of the set and then flowing back to back hits after that was perfect for the crowd.
Given the venue was the Rochford Winery and the audience fuelled by the time Pretenders came on, Chrissie Hynde was clearly ready for some fun. She heckled the audience which was a nice change. The “old lady with the pony tail dancing” and the man turning her on both got a shout-out from the stage.
Pretenders are an iconic band. The 15 years between 1979’s ‘Pretenders’ and 1994’s ‘Last of the Independence’ have clearly established a legacy. 10 of the 12 songs in the show came from that period and the audience lapped it up.
Chrissie returned to join Stevie Nicks for ‘Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around’. When Pretenders finished she did say she’ll be back.
If Pretenders maintain the energy of this show, then they are welcome back anytime.
Pretenders setlist 18 November 2017 Perth
Alone (from Alone, 2016)
Gotta Wait (from Alone, 2016)
Message of Love (from Pretenders II, 1981)
Talk of the Town (from Pretenders II, 1981)
Hymn to Her (from Get Close, 1986)
Stop Your Sobbing (The Kinks cover) (from Pretenders, 1979)
Back on the Chain Gang (from Learning To Crawl, 1984)
I’ll Stand By You (from Last of the Independents, 1994)
Don’t Get Me Wrong (from Get Close, 1986)
Mystery Achievement (from Pretenders, 1979)
Middle of the Road (from Learning To Crawl, 1984)
Brass in Pocket (from Pretenders, 1979)