Chrissie Hynde and the Pretenders Rock the Melody Tent

Legendary Chrissie Hynde and the Pretenders--Rockin' the Hyannis Melody Tent for two nights
Chrissie Hynde and The Pretenders

by Maggie Kulbokas

Usually I prefer to write my own intros, but truthfully, I couldn't say it better than the guy two rows behind me: "Chrissie, you kick ass!" And kick ass she did, flanked by three other Pretenders.

The Main Event
Chrissie Hynde, a quintessential rock goddess, rocked the Melody Tent in Hyannis last night and will undoubtedly do so again this evening--both nights--to a sold-out crowd. At 55, she's still as snarly and cool as ever. From the moment she shimmied onstage, she held the audience rapt with her sexy rocker chick presence and her sultry, undeniably recognizable voice.

For the evening's performance, the Melody Tent was split in half with only half the seats in use--a more traditional concert setup than the rotating round stage one typically encounters at the venue. The remaining seats and half the round stage were covered by a giant satin backdrop emblazoned with the tour name, Pirate Radio. Hynde stood out against the black backdrop in skin-tight jeans, stiletto boots, white vest and cyan tie still sporting the same shaggy brunette cut and dark eye makeup that have become her trademark look.

The Pretenders worked their way through a thunderous set of hits and new songs. Exuberant audience members shouted out the names of favorite songs; many finding it hard to remain in their seats. Original drummer, Martin Chambers playfully twirled sticks in the air while Adam Seymour banged out some masterful riffs on guitar.  A young Nick Wilkinson rounded out the quartet on bass and all the while, Hynde worked the stage strumming her own guitar or playing the tambourine.

The Pretenders left the stage and the patiently waiting audience was rewarded with a hard rocking encore that included probably the best Pretenders tune of all times, "Brass in Pocket". And as the song goes, "gonna make you, make you, make you notice," and that she did. All in all, it was a hard-rocking ride through the 25+ year career of an iconic rock band.

The Opening Act
It doesn't always happen this way, but the opening act for the Pretenders, IV Thieves, turned out to be quite the rock band. What a treat to see both a great rock band and a good band that some day, may be great. IV Thieves, a British band headed by Nic Armstrong, has a vibe and sound similar to many of the bands topping the Indie/Alt Rock charts today. Catchy lyrics, good guitar playing and a cheeky stage presence give them a Brit Invasion feel reminiscent of the Beatles and the Kinks.  Keep an eye on these lads in the future.

The Venue
If you have never attended a performance at the Melody Tent in Hyannis, or haven't in a long while, it's about time you do. This in the round, 2,300 seat, (no seat is further than 50' from the stage) open air venue, makes for an intimate setting and truly "brings you closer to the stars."

Although the stage set-up was different for the Pretenders show, typically, the rotating stage offers a perfect, unobstructed view to each audience member. This year's line up has also been very impressive. So far this season, the Melody Tent stage has played host to Tony Bennett, Ashlee Simpson, George Carlin and the Indigo Girls plus many others. Coming up: Melissa Etheridge, LeAnn Rimes, Kenny Rogers and comedian Kathy Griffin to name a few.   Dinner at a nice restaurant on Main St., Hyannis and tickets to a Melody Tent show make for a perfect evening.  Parking is a breeze and the venue is well-staffed to offer any needed directions and assistance.  The venue also boasts clean restrooms, an onsite ATM and a well-rounded concession offering everything from burgers to beer. 

A complete Melody Tent schedule is available here. Tickets are available in person at the box office or through Ticketmaster.  The Melody Tent is located at 21 West Main Street in Hyannis.  508-775-5630.

Photo courtesy of the Pretender's record label Artemis Records.

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