In all my years of writing I have never written about the Pretenders, which, to be quite honest, is something that I should be shot for. The Pretenders stole my musical virginity.

I used to meet and see Martin Chambers (drums) and James Honeyman-Scott (guitar) all the time, walking in the West End, going to the cinema and so on. This was prior to my introduction to seeing the band live.

My first gig by them was in September 1980 at the Hammersmith Palais. I had been to other gigs by them and saw Wings as my first ever gig in December 1979 and even met Mr McCartney that night.It was to be my first ever meeting with him which ended after I met him well over fifty times during my Beatles-fixated years between 1978 and 1984. The Pretenders were in those days of the original line-up, however, total sex to me. Chrissie Hynde was a goddess. James Honeyman-Scott was a guitar god. Martin Chambers was a rock solid drummer who always kept the beat, and bassist Pete Farndon had a rock enough cred to even give Bobby Gillespie a run for his money. As I have said, those early gigs were total sex to me. If sex was this good, then I was really looking forward to it.

No one, and I mean no one, even some of my favourite bands, have ever recaptured those days of early new wave punk like the Pretenders. So here I am standing in a park in Guildford with the most un rock'n' roll crowd ever , having already seen a fine tribute to the Cure and the Bunnymen today, waiting to see woman who changed my feelings about music forever and the Pretenders Mark 3, who I have seen many a time but not for the last four years. While they are not so great a band on record now, as a live force, I have never doubted them at all.

Their 90 minute set includes a few songs that I am not too familiar with along with lots of Chrissie Hynde songs which to describe them as classics is not really a strong enough word. The set brings back many memories, all of them happy. Everyone here was united in their love of bullshit free rock 'n' roll. No N.M.E. lovers of what is cool were admitted, Thank God !

Adam Seymour and Andy Hobson, ex-Katydids and the Primitives repectively, do a fine job that fills the gap that the two dead members left. The set inlcudes such timeless songs as 'Kid', which is dedicated to James and Pete ; covers of Chrissie's ex-lover Ray Davies''I Go to Sleep' and Morrissey's 'Every Day is Like Sunday' which, as yet unreleased, is performed with the Duke Quartet ; their song from the Avengers ; 'Don't Get Me Wrong' and a number of torch songs such as 'When I See My Baby Cry' and 'I Stand by You'. The set is closed with two of the songs from their debut self-titled album, the perfect 'Mystery Achievement' and their first ever big hit, 'Brass in My pocket'.

A perfect Sunday. A perfect festival. And home by 11.30 p.m.

Set List

Message of Love
Talk of the Town
Time the Avenger
Every Day is Like a Sunday
When I See My Baby Cry
I Go to Sleep
Back on a Chain Gang
Don't Get Me Wrong
Night in My Veins
Middle of the Road
I Stand by You
Mystery Achievement
Brass in Pocket

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Commenting On: Guildford, Surrey, 21/7/2002 - Guilfest Part 2

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