The Pretenders took advantage of a night off from touring with Stevie Nicks to tape an episode of “Austin City Limits” on Monday night (March 13) in Texas as part of the South By Southwest conference and festival.
Sounding mid-tour tight, the quintet whipped through a nearly 90-minute, 18- song set that let the group play a little longer than its usual opening slot allows.
Frontwoman Chrissie Hynde was particularly enjoying ACL Live’s Moody Theater, a considerably more intimate venue than the arenas Pretenders have been playing with Nicks, playfully chatting with the crowd – and, several times during the show, warning fans not to cross the line in front of the stage that ACL placed to allow its cameras to move around.
Though the set included four songs from last year’s “Alone” and the Hynde solo track “Down The Right Way,” it mostly focused on an array of favorites from throughout the Pretenders’ career, including “Message Of Love,” “Private Life,” “Don’t Get Me Wrong,” a cover of the Kinks’ “Stop Your Sobbing,” “My City Was Gone,” “Mystery Achievement,” “I’ll Stand By You,” “Up The Neck” and “Middle Of The Road.” Hynde finally urged the crowd forward during the closing “Brass In Pocket,” even bringing one fan on stage to help out with the last half of the song.
The Pretenders’ “Austin City Limits” episode will likely air this fall, but no air date has been announced yet.
Gary Graff is an award-winning music journalist who not only covers music but has written books on Bob Seger, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen.