The Pretenders: Live From London

Directed by Pierre and Francois Lamoureux ****

Good, solid no-nonsense rock and roll from Chrissie Hynde and Co.

Pretenders: Live in London

This is my idea of a concert film…set up a bunch of cameras where they won’t interfere with the performance, then get out of the way and let the band do its thing. When the band is The Pretenders, you wind up with a DVD that rocks from beginning to end.

Chrissie Hyde has fronted The Pretenders since the late 1970s, and although they lost two of their pivotal members to drugs in the early 80s, they soldiered on. Nowadays, Hyde and original drummer Martin Chambers are joined by guitarist James Walbourne, bass player Nick Wilkinson and pedal steel player Eric Haywood. The pedal steel may seem out of place, but it adds some nice touches throughout the show. Chrissie herself is in fine voice. Her mascara melts about five songs into the set, running down the side of her face, making her look like Alice Cooper. But no mind, she handles new songs like the Bo Diddley-ish Break Up The Concrete and old chestnuts like Tattooed Love Boys with equal skill. While introducing Kid, she pays tribute to her two fallen bandmates saying, “guys, put the kettle on, we’re not far behind you”. Let’s hope not.