B52s and Pretenders, July 26, 1998
Woodlands Pavilion

A group of folks got together from work and decided to head out to the 80s retro festof the Pretenders and B52s, neither band was one that I was crazy about, but I felt itmight be a good time and a nice evening.   I was right.  The eveningstarted out with the swing sounds of Royal Crown Revue, who provided a jumping start tothe evening.

The Pretenders were next, but they could have easily been the headliner.  I wasmost impressed by the fact that song after song, I was unaware of the huge body ofmaterial that the Pretenders have amassed during their career. Headed by Chrissie Hynde onlead guitar, the Pretenders delivered a strong set of great hits, like Brass in Pocket,Chain Gang, My City Was Gone (Ohio, Chrissie is from Toledo), I'll Stand By You, Night inMy Veins, Talk of the Town, Middle of the Road, Don't Get Me Wrong.  Chrissie has adistinctive voice and a stark presence on stage with her dark hair and clothing.  Shehad a few choice comments for the crowd, including a stab at meat eaters.  ThePretenders have been playing together since 1980 and are still as tight and tuneful asthey have ever been, proving that a band can maintain their integrity over the course oftwo decades and still make a living making good music.

The B52s, grand poohbas of 80s party music, got the crowd grooving right off the batwith old favorites like Rock Lobster, Party Out of Bounds, Planet Claire, Private Idaho,Quiche Lorraine, Deadbeat Club, Roam, and of course, their big hit, Love Shack, all off oftheir new greatest hits CD, Time Capsule.  For the most part, the B52s stillhad all the old energy and stage presence, with Fred Schneider making a scene in pinkpants and a tank top and Kate Pierson in her standard mini.  The hairstyles were abit more modern, so I longed for the days of the beehive.  While Kate's voice wasstill stellar, it was hard to miss that she was overcompensating for Cindy Wilson, whosevoice seems to have weakened over the years.  The crowd ranged from teens to teens atheart more in the middle age arena, but everyone was having a grand time.  Theobligatory new song, "Debbie", from the CD was revealed, but was received rathercooly, as everyone was here for to reminisce on the old stuff.  The B52s are anotherband that has managed to keep it together for such a long time and fill a very narrowmusical niche most successfully.

On That Note, I'm outta here......


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