Pretenders with Friends
If you were lucky enough to to attend the Pretenders with Friends concert at the Decades Rock Arena in Atlantic City, NJ on August 11, 2006 you probably had an spectacular time. Reliving that same concert via Blu-Ray and CD, unfortunately, not so great.
Pretenders: Sound Issues
Let’s start with the CD… the audio quality is poor at best and sounds like someone just took the audio from a VHS cassette. It doesn’t sound like any post production was done to the audio used for the video to make it sound like a real live offering. Throughout the album many of the songs fade out at the end and fade in at the beginning. This technique is of course fine on a studio album but on a LIVE recording it breaks up the flow of the concert listening experience.
Possibly a more egregious offense – there are two edits during the song “Precious.” There is nothing less rock’n’roll than bleeping out swear words – in this case, the words “Shit” and “Fuck”. Shame on you Cleopatra Records. No one underage is going to purchase a Pretenders LIVE album from 2006, so why not leave those words intact for your adult customers?
Pretenders with Friends, like Kings of Leon
It must be noted that Chrissie Hynde sounds fantastic. In fact, she sounds so great that all the other “friends” that join her on stage sound like American Idol rejects. First up is Garbage lead singer Shirley Manson. Manson has an amazing voice but on this recording she actually sounds nervous or intimidated to be sharing the stage with Hynde, and that comes through in a lack luster vocal performance. Next up are Kings Of Leon and Incubus. Both of their front men sound horrible singing their own songs and even worse when tackling the Pretenders tunes they are given.
Last and certainly least is Iggy Pop. Pop has never been known for his vocal chops and on this disc he is an absolute mess. The prospect of a Hynde/Pop duet on Iggy’s tune “Candy” filled me with excitement; that is, until I heard it. Pop is painfully out of tune, off-key or whatever you want to call it. Some may think that’s cool or punk or rock’n’roll but for me it was just embarrassing.
The Blu-Ray option is a little better since Hynde and Pretenders are always great to watch and the video quality is top notch. The packaging is also great and includes a booklet, CD, the the Blu-Ray and DVD. All elements come housed in a four panel digi-pak fold out. The cost of the whole package is very inexpensive and completists or diehard Pretenders fans will definitely want to add this to their collection.
However, as stated above… “buyer beware,” as this is not what you might hope it would be.
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Pat Francis currently hosts the popular comedy/music podcast “Rock Solid,” called 1 of the 8 great music podcasts to put in your ears by USA Today and featuring artists such as Melissa Etheridge, Sammy Hagar and Susanna Hoffs. His frequent appearances on Jimmy Pardo’s top rated podcast “Never Not Funny” are fan favorites. Pat began his entertainment career as a stand-up comic in Chicago, IL. After touring the country and performing in 42 states at comedy clubs and colleges, he relocated to Los Angeles, CA. There he appeared as a comedian on Comedy Central, AMC, the UCB and is a yearly regular at the San Francisco Sketchfest. For the past 5 years he has also served as Co-Host of the yearly event Pardcast-A-Thon which to date has raised over 700,000 for Smile Train. When not entertaining people in person he also makes his living as a Story Producer for reality television programs. It is also important to know that Pat is a monkey in a human mask.