Photos by Vito Ingerto
I did not have covering the Pretenders at the 7th Street Entry on my list of things I’d be doing in 2023. But there I was, on a Thursday night, with around 200 of my similarly lucky friends, in what was formally a closet of a Greyhound bus terminal, watching one of the greatest bands the eighties produced. I really had to pinch myself to see if I was actually there. The band is currently touring with Guns N’ Roses, but between arena shows they are playing some very intimate venues. And it doesn’t get more intimate in the Twin Cities than the 7th Street Entry. And it was Chrissie Hynde’s birthday, too!
The extremely packed Entry was vibrating with excitement when the house lights went down and the band made their way to the stage. With a hella tight rhythm section from bassist Dave Page and drummer Kris Sonne, you could literally feel the low end sound waves hitting you right in the solar plexus. They opened with “Loosing My Sense Of Taste” from there latest release Relentless. It was an amazingly rocking version. Chrissy let the crowd know how much she loves Minneapolis, saying her favorite band, Low, was from here.
Hynde hasn’t missed a beat, her voice was Gucci. She bounded around the small stage as much as she could, pounding out power chords on a series of blinged out Telecasters. Guitarist James Welbourne was shred master general at stage left the entire evening, and Hynde shared her appreciation for him several times during the show. While the crowd may have been a “sea of grey hair”, the likes of which the room rarely sees, they were clearly a dedicated fan base. The loudest responses were for deep tunes I honestly couldn’t name. Some of my favorites were “Time The Avenger”, “The Adulteress” as well as newish tunes “Tequila” and “Boots Of Chinese Plastic”
There were a couple of serious moments during the show. While waiting for the doors to open, a couple of sisters coached the line that there would be a singalong “Happy Birthday” right after the sixth song. Well, a couple of people shouted “Happy Birthday” early in the set, and Hynde was having non of it. Not taking the hint, the sisters stated the song, and Hynde just shook her head and cranked into the nest tune, drowning out the sing a long. “Junkie Walk” was particularly poignant, Chrissie called out the big Pharmaceutical companies for their role in causing the overdose crisis.
The buzz around the room after the band left was that we had witnessed a little rock and roll history on Thursday night, and I would have to agree.