IN a throwback to the good old days when bands started tours in the city due to the appreciative audiences, The Pretenders chose Newcastle to open their 14-date tour.

The evergreen Chrissie Hynde and drummer Martin Chambers were accompanied by a talented trio of younger guns including guitarist James Walbourne whose band The Rails also provided opening support.

Opening with Alone and Gotta Wait the band soon dipped into their archive of hits with Message Of Love and Talk Of The Town, during which the audience rose to their feet for the rest of the evening.

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Kid was dedicated to former guitarists James Honeyman-Scott and Pete Farndon, both drug casualties in the early 80s and remembered fondly by Hynde who reminisced about playing Newcastle with them.

The band included treats such as Mystery Achievement from their debut release, Boots of Chinese Plastic, and a smouldering cover of Grace Jones’ Private Life in between further classics like Back On The Chain Gang and I’ll Stand By You.

I Go To Sleep, Middle of The Road and a rousing sing-a-long through final number Brass In Pocket brought the evening to a rousing finish.

It may be more than 30 years since Hynde became the iconic rock chick – a blaze of swagger, kohl-rimmed eyes and cheekbones to die for – but the those years have neither dimmed her unique voice nor her dazzling stage presence. It was a masterful show and to paraphrase her lyrics it proved both special and deserving of our attention.

Dave Lawrence