New To Blu: Pretenders with Friends: Decades Rock Live (2019) - Reviewed

Perhaps one of the most underappreciated and iconic front women of all time takes center stage in the amazing new live package, Pretenders with Friends. Featuring a full catalog of hits, a couple deep cuts, and performances with numerous artists that include Incubus, Iggy Pop, Shirley Manson, and Kings of Leon, this awesome set is a true testament to Hynde's legacy in rock and her tonally perfect voice that still hits all the highs while also delivering pitch perfect melodies with her still relevant live swagger. Kicking of with The Wait and carrying us through numerous Pretenders hits intermingled with songs by her guests, the Decades Rock Live stage is set for a legendary night of music. 

Spanning decades, Pretenders with Friends is a showcase of talent that's offset by Chrissie Hynde's command of the stage. Still carrying the torch that she lit back in 1978, her presence and heartfelt range is the best part of this disc. Laying into performances of Only Happy When It Rains with Shirley Manson (Garbage) and Candy with Iggy Pop, it's quickly apparent that Hynde plans on continuing her 40+ years legacy with potent live shows, even if her band has seen a revolving door of members over their expansive history. Also, what's most impressive here is Martin Chambers' drumming. The man is a powerhouse. Never realizing his control of his instrument, this show gives him the spotlight in numerous spots and runs with it. 

Mixing in other artists like Incubus that perform their hit song Drive and the Kings of Leon playing The Bucket with members of Hynde's band laying down support, this is really a cool example of how music can translate between artists and different age groups. The songs here are absolutely timeless, with all the Pretenders popular rock hits still maintaining the same luster as they did years ago. Hitting on Back on the Chain Gang, Brass in Pocket, and a rousing version of Middle of the Road, it as an absolute delight to get this three disc set in the mail the other day. Being a huge fan of all things music, but more so in absolute adoration of Chrissie Hynde, I simply adored watching this concert last night. 

For completists, Pretenders with Friends is a must have release that shows us exactly how Hynde still maintains her own style, has been an influence on SO many female artists, and her will to keep the struggle alive. In an age when digital music and programming have replaced much of the music on the radio, this is a reminder that rock is still alive with performers like Hynde knowing that we still need people like her around. Using her back catalog to full effect, this will definitely be on replay on my home theater system. Considering the awesome live mix, the cool guest appearances, and the phenomenal looking video......I'll enjoy this for years to come. 

This digi-pack release will be available on July 12th via MVD.

-Chris George