Sunday, August 23, 2009


The summer concert series continues with a trip to the Denver Botanic Gardens open space area near Chatfield Reservoir right up against the foothills. The line up for this evenings event were Juliette Lewis, Cat Power with the headliner being The Pretenders. A beautiful day with the music beginning at 4 PM and The Pretenders playing at 6:30 for no less than an hour and a half.

Juliette Lewis, American actress and musician, performed her style of rock on stage for a half hour, warming up the slowly gathering crowd. In 2006,Blender Magazine included her in their hottest women of rock music list while saying, "[She] delivered sonically varnished melodic punk replete with purring vocals and lyrics that bash porn, pharmaceutical companies and rotten lovers. (in no particular order)".

This is what she recently said about Van Halen:

“When I was 13 and I saw Van Halen’s “Panama” video, I was blown away. When Roth is crawling toward the camera singing, “I reach down between my legs and ease the seat back,” I was like, “Holy crap! I want to be that guy.”
Cat Power is the stage name of American singer/songwriter Chan Marshall. She is known for her minimalist style, sparse guitar and piano playing, and breathy vocals. She kept the crowds entranced with some of her original songs sprinkled with many cover tunes from other artists, done in a unique way that made it difficult to tell who's song she was singing. You can tell she had some real fans in the crowd.

But the moment I was waiting for was for Chrissie Hynde to take the stage and perform her high octane blend of punk/new wave to an enthusiastic audience. She both looked and sounded great, even though 28 years had elapsed since I last saw her in New York. The crowd really showed their appreciation when she performed many of her well loved classics from the 80's, everyone getting up on their feet to dance. She can still kick ass.

The Pretenders' album Breaking Up The Concrete was released on October 7, 2008. It was their first Top 40 album in the U.S. in 22 years. The "Break Up The Concrete Tour" began in mid-January and covered most of the United States, with shows until the end of March. It then continued in Europe, with gigs in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Germany, Holland, France, Spain, Belgium, Scotland and England during the months of June and July, before returning for a new tour in Canada and the U.S. during August and September 2009. The work they put in on the tour showed this evening with a superb performance.

It's always a let down when the music comes to an end. The crowd disperses, the roadies begin to disassemble the stage. A line of red tail lights snakes out of the parking lot up towards the highway. I set up my lawn chair in the back of the truck with the stereo on loud, playing a live performance of The Pretenders back in 1981. To be honest, there was very little difference in quality between what I heard on the stereo from back in the day and what I heard this evening. A very memorable and truly enjoyable show. Can't wait for the bootleg recording.

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