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1998 Radio City Music Hall: Pretenders and B52s Double Bill

Photo by James Yeramian, found on Flickr

Late June, 1998, I had the pleasure to see a double bill with The Pretenders and B52s at Radio City Music Hall, NYC.

I was a fan of both bands and saw them both much earlier (on separate occasions) at the Capital Theatre in Passaic, New Jersey — all the back in 1980.

With an 18 year time difference between the times I saw both acts, I can’t honestly say which shows were better because both of these bands were always a class act.

Aside from all the great songs, dancing, people not being in their seats during almost the entire show, high energy, etc., there were three outstanding moments from this particular gig.

1. Shaking hands with Gene Simmons. The B52s were up first. Now, from day one, whenever I went to a concert my eyes are always pretty much glued to the stage. But when my friend Janet pointed out that Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley were sitting right behind us, so I had to look.

She was right. It was Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley at a B52s/Pretenders concert! How surreal.

I said hello to Gene Simmons and he shook my hand. He seemed very nice. Paul was sitting a bit further down, so I didn’t get to meet him that night, although I met him over 10 years earlier at a club in Brooklyn called L’Amour’s.

It was so surreal seeing two members of KISS with their girlfriends. (I’m not sure if it was Shannon who was with Gene, as this concert was way before the “KISS Family Jewels” show was on the air, so I didn’t really know who Shannon Tweed was). Both women were blonde and beautiful.

And it just goes to show that musicians love all kinds of music — not just the kind of music they perform. This is why music fans should stop referring to anything they think is “uncool” as a “guilty pleasure” because it’s all cool!

Gene and Paul left in the middle of the B52s set. I guess too many fans were staring at them.

2. Chrissie Hynde acknowledging the death of Wendy O. Williams. Two months prior to this show, Wendy O. Williams of The Plasmatics killed herself. This was a shocker to me. I heard the news via email from an editor I worked with briefly. The news broke my heart. I was a huge Plasmatics fan and saw their show pretty close to 10 times. I met Wendy once and she was nice to me. I always admired her strength and viewed her as a woman way ahead of her time. I took her death very hard.

I don’t know if Chrissie Hynde and Wendy O. Williams knew each other personally, but I do know they had a major common ground as they were both vegetarians. Wendy O. Williams was even on the cover of Vegetarian Times.

It was very sweet of Chrissie to acknowledge Wendy. That was so nice and unexpected. Kudos to Chrissie for doing that.

3. Chrissie Hynde dedicating “I’ll Stand By You” to “the animals.” Being an animal lover myself, this was a very poignant moment for me. I love that Chrissie Hynde does so much for the animals. Whenever that song comes on the radio, I remember this concert that I went to so very long ago and ever since hearing Chrissie’s dedication, I love that song even more.

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2 thoughts on “1998 Radio City Music Hall: Pretenders and B52s Double Bill

  1. Nice memories of two great bands. I saw The Pretenders at small theatre here when we first got to Boston. Always a great show. Never seen B-52s but want to one day. Trivial note: I see that Gene has been with Shannon for 28 years now, so that may have been her

  2. Gina S. on said:

    Love both bands. I saw the B-52’s open up for what was supposed to be the last Police concert a few years back. They were awesome. Great post!

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