NEW YORK, NY—The Pretenders were here from London to perform for Central Park’s Summer Stage series on what was probably the hottest and most humid night so far this summer. It was packed anyway, and the band didn’t disappoint. They sounded as good as ever and played plenty of their vintage songs. The only constant to tie all the repertoire together is founding singer and guitarist Chrissie Hynde. Only drummer Martin Chambers is also an original member, but he’s been in and out of the group over the years by choice.
With many line-up changes and inactive years since their formation in London in ‘78, the band has increasingly become a vehicle for Hynde’s songwriting and persona. It was clear from the show that it’s less of a band than Hynde and whoever’s backing her at the time. The audience, and especially the females, identify mostly with her anyway so this seems to be fine with them. And as an American (Hynde is from Akron, Ohio) she’s always readily welcomed when she’s back in the U.S.A.