Trying to reverse the proliferation of glowing cellphone screens in the audience at today’s concerts is like trying to push back against the tide — but Pretenders frontwoman Chrissie Hynde isn’t going down without a fight, even if it means cutting a show short after profanely berating the crowd.
The band’s no-phones policy isn’t exactly a secret — and it’s clearly stated on signs at venues hosting Pretenders shows — but the concertgoer who can sit in the audience for an entire set without hoisting his or her phone into the air is pretty rare these days, and during the Pretenders’ Oct. 26 visit to the Irish Village in Dubai, Hynde had enough.
As The Independent Reports, the conflict between Hynde and the cellphone toters in the crowd started in the midst of the band’s first song of the night, and flared up often through what turned out to be a shortened 45-minute set. Finally, after repeatedly and angrily urging the audience to put their phones away, she issued an ultimatum.
“She said, ‘If you keep using your phones, then I’m not singing and you can listen to us playing,'” one audience member told the paper. “And so she stopped singing and at the end of that particular song, she said ‘Well, take a [expletive] picture of this’ and she and the band walked off stage.”
The Independent rounded up appalled reactions from a number of concertgoers who felt, in the words of one angry fan, “We pay for you, you don’t pay for us. You are there for us, we are not there for you.” But Hynde’s no stranger to fighting for what she believes in, and as she made clear in a recent Facebook post, anyone expecting her to dial back the intensity at this stage is bound to have their hopes dashed.
“I know sometimes I’m not the celebrity you want,” she wrote. “But believe me, I suffer for it later that night and wish I could have been a nicer person. But I wasn’t, I’m not and probably not going to change any time soon.”