April 20, 1984: William & Mary Hall, Williamsburg, VA
with The Alarm
(opening for The Pretenders)
Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)
The Things (That) I Used to Do
Mary Had a Little Lamb
Love Struck Baby
Pride and Joy
Tin Pan Alley
Chrissie Hynde and Pretenders exhibit trademark scorn, sexuality
by Bob Evans The Daily Press
April 23, 1984
"If a baby, two dead band members and recent hit songs have mellowed Chrissie Hynde and the Pretenders, they surely put on a good act to the contrary Friday night.
Their two-hour show at William and Mary Hall was full of the punch, scorn and languid sexuality this rock band has made its trademark the past four years.
Nine hours after they left the stage, my ears still are ringing from the volume. My mind still jumps from song to song and around the full circle of personas played out with crashing drums and Ms. Hynde's leather-legged versatility.
The set began with a taped version of Frank Sinatra's 'That's Life.' A split-second after that crooner's voice cut off, Pretenders kicked into a raucous string of old and new songs, including 'Message of Love,' 'The Adultress,' 'Time the Avenger' and 'My City Was Gone.'
Ms. Hynde employed several lyrical figures throughout the concert.
First she was 'The Adultress,' mixing expletives, sarcastic lyrics and style a biker could relate to. Then the wailing guitars and pounding rhythm section, at full volume but a little slower beat, accompanied her on a piece that described a patient and soulful lover with time to dream and pine.
'Our music has a message,' Ms. Hynde told the audience. 'And the message is love.' Then the urban-hard singer punctuated that flower-powerish theme by bluntly asking the audience if they'd like to express it physically.
Her gutterally inflected question was followed by 'Show Me,' a tune that turns the other cheek. Its beautiful words and melody return to serene hopefulness and, without scorn, anger or anguish, gently ask to be shown what love is, to be 'invited to this special place' via her partner's innocence.
There is a line at the end of 'Lovers of Today' on the group's first album, spoken by Ms. Hynde after the band's roar has begun to echo into the next track. 'I'll never feel like a man in a man's world,' she states flatly, and that quite possibly sizes up her approach and delivery.
She's not Van Halen or macho rock. She's a woman and an artist who, like other artists, takes a little bit from all the parts of the world around us and portrays them with the detail and honesty of a real schizophrenic. Yet she illuminates those feelings and experiences without simply giving a prurient peek into normally private acts or thoughts.
The Pretenders' ability to tackle melody and a wide variation of lyrical personas was lacking in the two opening acts, Alarm and Stevie Ray Vaughn [sic].
Vaughn is perhaps poorly judged by those yardsticks, though. His vocals are spare and rare, the music given over to his technical mastery of electric blues guitar.
One hot lick followed another. He jumped about from British blues to Georgia slide to Texas bop and then to loud Mississippi Delta, all in the same tune and without apparent reason. His virtuosity was of the technical however, not emotional or artistic.
Alarm, with hits 'Blaze of Glory' and '68 Guns,' was all thunder and power. Maybe they didn't have enough time on stage, but they failed even to hint at any purpose behind their desire for glory. They were hollow without purpose, the emotion of a boy playing soldier as opposed to a man fighting for peace or principle."