x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 22 November 2017

Shocked fans react to Chrissie Hynde's expletive-fuelled onstage rant in Dubai

The legendary Pretenders frontwoman walked off stage only an hour into her set

Chrissie Hynde gave fans a different kind of show in Dubai on Thursday night. Ms Hynde is pictured above at an earlier concert. AFP
Chrissie Hynde gave fans a different kind of show in Dubai on Thursday night. Ms Hynde is pictured above at an earlier concert. AFP

Fans have been left reeling after an expletive-laden tirade from The Pretenders front woman Chrissie Hynde, as she hurled abuse at the crowd and cut short her Dubai concert.

Mobile phones were the cause of grievance for the 80s rock icon, who peppered her band's Thursday night show with expletives and rants, and singled out members of the audience for personalised insults.

The Pretenders were the main draw-card for the Irish Village's Live on the Lake concert on Thursday evening. They were joined by Heather Small, otherwise known as the lead singer of nineties pop group M People, and UK-based reggae and dub group Aswad. Both support acts received rave reviews from the crowd.

In line with many a previous Pretenders show, an announcement warned the crowd that they had asked for no mobile phones to be used during the performance.

But it seems the band couldn't even get through one song before a wayward mobile phone prompted the disgruntled front-woman to take the audience to task.

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Dominic Hoey, who was at the concert with a group of friends, was taken aback at the sudden outburst.

"Chrissie Hynde told the crowd to ‘stop using your ******* phones, stick ‘em up you’re ****’," he said.

"Needless to say some people took no notice of this, and she repeated the above sentence a number of times during their first few songs, sometimes picking out people in the audience specifically and repeating the rant."

Mr Hoey said the expletive-fuelled vernacular got considerably worse, to the point where asterisks can't even save the insults Ms Hynde was hurling from the stage.

"Approximately three or four songs in, she stopped singing during one song and said that she 'ain't Lady Gaga or Katy Perry, so if you wanna use your ******* phones, go and see them, we are a rock band’," Mr Hoey said.

There were also reports of a member of the band fighting with the venue's security.

Hynde is well-known to not be at all fond of mobile phone use during her sets.

In fact, it's not uncommon for posters to warn concertgoers to "leave your phone in your pocket and enjoy the show in real time" upon entering one of their venues.

It wasn't long before the band became the subject of distaste from Thursday night's crowd, when people began to boo.

"She said: ‘Is that for me or her?', and was pointing at the person in the crowd who had offended her by using her phone to take photos, and a lot of the crowd shouted back ‘Yooooooou'," My Hoey said.

After 45 minutes to an hour of expletive-fuelled rants, it seems the legendary rock icon simply gave up.

"She said ‘if you keep using your phones, then I’m not singing and you can listen to us playing’, and so she stopped singing and at the end of that particular song, she said ‘Well, take a ******* picture of this’ and she and the band walked off stage."

The show ended before their 1980 smash-hit Brass in Pocket had even been performed.

Fans were left aghast, complaining on social media and demanding their money back.

Alistair MacDonald called Ms Hynde out on Twitter, labelling her a "disgrace".

"You have no respect for fans. We pay for you, you don't pay for us. You are there for us, we are not there for you. You owe me 225uaeD," he wrote.

Twitter user Allie G said she'd missed some of the commotion because she'd walked away when the worst of the expletives were being used.

"It was total disrespect to the audience & the country she was performing in," she wrote.

While Mr Hoey said he and his friends were more amused than disappointed, he said he'd never seen anything like it.

"I have been to concerts all around the world and have never seen an act perform or behave like this- maybe it’s because when they last had a hit, mobile phones didn’t exist."

The Pretenders had earlier completed a 14-night tour of the UK, as the band made the rounds to promote their new album, Alone. Dubai may not have been the first audience subject to Ms Hynde's tirade either, as an apology on her Facebook page during her UK tour reiterated her unapologetic views on mobile phones.

"As you probably know by now, when i’m not on the stage, I like to retain a very ordinary profile and get embarrassed by uninvited attentions," she wrote.

"So if I told anyone to ‘get lost’ - it’s just me being the citizen God intended me to be. I know sometimes I’m not the celebrity you want, 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."

Chrissie Hynde apologises on Facebook about her views on mobile phones during her UK tour, October 19 2017.
Chrissie Hynde apologises on Facebook about her views on mobile phones during her UK tour, October 19 2017.