Friday night at Avalon, Chrissie Hynde called the audience names, harassed her bandmates, and played an hour and 45 minutes of whip- smart rock 'n' roll.
It was all in a very good night's work for the Pretenders frontwoman, who only half-jokingly referred to herself as an ``internationally acclaimed rock legend."
She may have a still- shiny Rock and Roll Hall of Fame trophy to back up that claim, but more important , almost 30 years into a highly influential career, the Ohio firebrand still has the voice, attitude, and skills that earned her that hardware.
From the first steely thrum of her guitar on ``Message of Love," the 54-year-old singer-songwriter with the frozen- in- time bangs and effortless cool had the three-quarter- capacity crowd wrapped around her outspokenly vegan finger.
When she got only minimal response after mentioning her animal rights activism and thanking those in the crowd who stood with her , she brayed, ``I know most of you [expletive] aren't interested, [expletive] you!"
That brio spilled into a set list that included most of the Pretenders' hits and quite a few album cuts, which made sense because the band is touring to promote its recently released box set, ``Pirate Radio." But one gets the sense that Ms. Hynde plays what she wants to play.
Of the deeper cuts, the sultry reggae grooves of ``Private Life," featuring Hynde's sexiest off-rhythm murmur, and the yips, yelps, and growls of ``Jealous Dogs" were highs, as Hynde sneered on the latter, `` Don't be a sucker all your life!"
Guitarist Adam Seymour has come a long way in accommodating the inventive riffs of the late James Honeyman-Scott while letting his individuality -- or as much as Hynde will let him have -- shine through on familiar solos that pre-dated him, such as those on the burning ``The Adultress" and ``Stop Your Sobbing. " He offered up his own nerve-jangling style on the sexy, restless ``Night in My Veins."
The hits were played with great energy -- drummer Martin Chambers is still a stern and gifted timekeeper -- and the sunny ``Don't Get Me Wrong," explosive ``Middle of the Road," mournful ``Back on the Chain Gang," and still- sly closer, ``Brass in Pocket," all got hearty responses.
Openers IV Thieves played a simpatico set of catchy garage rock with a new- wave racing stripe running through it .