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The Pretenders - The Riverside Theater (Milwaukee) - July 10, 2018

22 July 2018

Review and photos by Philamonjaro
Edited by Jeff Elbel

As the Pretenders wrap their US dates before heading back to the UK for additional touring, its playing is as vibrant and visceral as ever. The band’s Milwaukee show at the Riverside Theater opened with the piano-pounding, loose-fitting, guitar-boogie title track from 2016’s Alone. The tribal pounding of “Gotta Wait” got the crowd to its feet and dancing. The set continued with recent songs including “Let’s Get Lost,” “I Hate Myself,” and “Death Is Not Enough.” Familiar fare included the hits “Kid,” “Back On The Chain Gang,” and “The Wait.”

Original, surviving members Martin Chambers and Chrissie Hynde teamed with the current line up of recent years, featuring Nick Wilkinson on bass, James Walbourne on lead guitar, and Carwyn Ellis on keyboards and guitar. The collected band delivered a tight, big sound, but Hynde always remained the center of attention and the audiences’ greatest object of affection.

The musical dynamics from song to song were notable. Whether playing the bass-driven “My City Was Gone,” the tender singing of “Hymn to Her,” or the growling “Middle of the Road,” the Pretenders’ set list encompassed many influences and styles. Each revealed substance and savvy arrangement, and the band was never short on melodic hooks. There was no pretending on display – this rock and roll band is the real deal.

Set List:

Gotta Wait
Down the Wrong Way
Back On the Chain Gang
My City Was Gone
Hymn to Her
Don’t Get Me Wrong
Let’s Get Lost
I Hate Myself
Up the Neck
Cuban Slide
Bad Boys Get Spanked
Middle of the Road


Death Is Not Enough
Break Up the Concrete
I’ll Stand by You
The Wait


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