Music review: The Pretenders, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

Chrissie Hynde
Chrissie Hynde
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Chrissie Hynde reckons she could teach any aspiring guitarist what she knows in 45 minutes, which sounds appropriately punk rock. But you can’t teach what Hynde has as she hit the stage, hanging out with her boys, all swagger and poise, on her paean to personal liberty, Alone. “Nobody tells me I can’t, nobody tells me I shan’t,” she asserted in her distinctive drawl. As if anyone would dare.

The Pretenders ****

Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

Even on an apparently off night – the capacity crowd didn’t seem too worried about the extempore features of the performance or the playful banter which did not quite flow as Hynde would have preferred – she was a rock’n’roll royal in her God Save the Queen t-shirt, sleeves literally rolled up for the crunchy new wave groove of Message of Love and the droll dub rock of Private Life, memorably covered by the equally imperious and mischievous Grace Jones.

Competing for the affections of an initially well-behaved but increasingly frisky audience were her wonderful wingman Martin Chambers on muscular drumming and gifted rock’n’roll guitarist James Walbourne, who lavished the set with twanging tremolo.

The tender Kid was dedicated to her late band members Pete Farndon and James Honeyman-Scott, the brilliant ballad I’ll Stand By You to “Jimmy” – ex-husband Jim Kerr, one presumes – and another former partner, Ray Davies, described as “a lovely guy once you get to know him”, while even the road crew got involved on backing vocals in a show of joyous team spirit, helmed by the coolest captain.