Concert review: Chrissie Hynde, The Rails, October 30, Massey Hall


Former Pretenders frontwoman Chrissie Hynde has always seemed to have a sort of badass rock and roll aura about her and The Pretenders have certainly had many memorable hits over the years. Given that, it seemed a pretty safe bet to assume that her show at Massey Hall might be (to use one of her song titles as a descriptor) something “Precious.”  As it turns out, despite a fair number of high points, much of her set turned out to be more “Middle of The Road.”

The show at Massey Hall was the first date on the tour behind her latest (and first) solo release, Stockholm. It was a good set, don’t get me wrong, and she’s got a solid band, but something about the show seemed a touch lacklustre to me. I may have been in the minority though as the generally older crowd seemed pretty stoked to see her right off the bat, even though she started off her set with a handful of midpaced tunes. That said, she is just beginning her tour so the setlist may be tweaked, and it was nevertheless great to hear all of those old Pretenders songs. Some of her new material also held up fairly well, with first single and set closer “Dark Sunglasses” making a particularly strong impression.

While Hynde’s set left me a little underwhelmed, her opening act, The Rails,made a good impression on me. The London folk duo of Kami Thompson (daughter of Richard and Linda) and James Walbourne offered up a brief yet enjoyable set of songs that fell somewhere between traditional British folk and rootsy Americana. Walbourne played double duty this evening, also filling the lead guitarist role in Hynde’s band (“Two for one,” she called it). While their set was perhaps too brief at less than half an hour, they impressed me enough that I’m curious to hear a bit more from them.

Posted on by Paul in Concerts

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