Rock legends The Pretenders to amaze a sold-out First Ave

It may say "The Pretenders" on the marquis, but really, that's just shorthand for the sprawling, storied career of Chrissy Hynde, who has remained the frontwoman and only constant member of the group since 1978. Critics jump at the chance to call Hynde rock royalty, and even though that phrase may seem a little worn out, maybe no one can wear the title with as much authority as she does. She's a Rockstar with a capital R, an artist whose songs have crossed the line from being mere Top 10 hits to being bonafide musical touchstones, pop classics that can conjure up whole worlds of memory and emotion in under four minutes. For fans, her appearance tonight is more like an audience with the queen than most would ever admit.

But, perhaps it's also the venue that deserves as much mention here as the band. Sure, a group of this caliber and history could pack a sizable crowd into the Target Center or the Xcel without too much effort, but the fact that tonight's set will take place at First Avenue means that the crowd will be treated to something far more intimate than could ever be achieved in an echoing, lifeless arena. The distance between Hynde's barefoot majesty and her audience will shorten down to only a few inches, with absolutely nothing to get in the way of those classic hooks.

However, such joy comes at a price, and a more personal venue means limited tickets. The show is sold out, but resourceful concertgoers might find a way to beg, borrow, or steal a way into tonight's event. Do what you can (craigslist?) to secure tickets, because if you have to miss such a performance, you won't want it to be because you didn't try.

The Pretenders w/ American Bang, First Ave. Mainroom, Friday, February 20th.  8:00 pm, 18+, $35 (SOLD OUT)