It's A Boy
We're Not Gonna Take It
Who Are You
Imagine A Man
Won't Get Fooled Again [Acoustic]
Behind Blue Eyes
Tea And Theatre
The Real Me
The Punk And The Godfather
Love Reign O'er Me
First I’ll address Peter Wolf, the opening act, and former singer for the J. Geils Band. He never pushed his voice as hard as rock’s famous belters when he was young, so he still sounded very strong in older age tonight. His music was seemingly built for audience involvement, and he won the crowd over quickly. So much so that people held their need for a restroom until he finished his set, at which point the facilities were veritably rushed.
The Who came on not long afterward, and didn’t delay much before launching into the Tommy suite, which went down well with the crowd, despite many casual fans being unfamiliar with Overture, 1921, etc. It was interesting to hear the arrangements of the original album being almost exactly duplicated, something that had never been done on stage prior to this tour in some cases (e.g. the Overture guitar solo). It was also great to see Billy Nichols back with the band. Roger hit a strong high C on See Me, Feel Me, a glorious and powerful moment. Pete took two solos back to back, botching most of the second one Concert for Kampuchea style.
The orchestra seemed well integrated and tight as the band dove into Who Are You and Join Together, both of which went much better than was reported on the past two nights. Eminence Front saw Pete in very good voice, able to pretty crisply hold his G#s. He played solos, and even ripped a solo straight through much of the second “Come and join the party...” section, which is supposed to be a vocal section. Imagine a Man was beautiful, but because it is a quieter song, it felt kind of swallowed up by the heavy-hitting anthems it was sandwiched between.
Once the orchestra left the stage, there were a couple of minutes of setlist confusion before Roger posed a question to the crowd: (not an exact quote) “Has there ever been a better line in Rock and Roll than ‘I was born with a plastic spoon in my mouth’?” They launched into Substitute; the highlight was an energetic solo by Pete, despite the song being a bit rough around the edges. The Seeker took the place of The Kids Are Alright; a fine swap if you ask me, considering how much the Seeker has remained relevant to today’s culture. Won’t Get Fooled Again showed a strong chemistry with just Pete and Roger being on the stage, but I wish Pete had taken a much longer guitar solo, I.E. something along the lines of how he played it in ‘96 or at the ‘99 Bridge School Shows. Behind Blue Eyes exhibited a rare moment of Zak briefly losing the beat, but was nonetheless quite beautiful. Tea and Theatre followed; a moment I had greatly looked forward to. After the first line of the song, a man behind me sang out of key “Yes, I’ll have some tea with you…” trailing off at the end. Well over a hundred people promptly rushed to the bathroom. The disrespect for this song never ceases to amaze me; I found it to be one of the best moments of the night, and a song that nearly always gives me chills
The members of the crowd who had just relieved themselves rushed back as the band launched into The Real Me, but for some reason, very few people were standing, unlike the first set. The band seemed to get just slightly out of sync on I’m One. This was exacerbated on The Punk and the Godfather. During the first chorus, something went wrong with Simon’s acoustic. He was unable to play for a little while, but Pete carried the song’s guitar part well enough, and Simon’s electric was brought out and used for the rest of the song. Roger executed his vocals well despite these issues; I don’t recall him missing any of the many words in Punk’s various sections. He was also able hit the high note on “stutter” twice, passing it off to the crowd the third time (not enough people knew the line for their to be an audible sing-along). 5:15 was rather short, and Pete seemed quite unhappy for the duration of it. Afterwards, he apologized to the crowd, explained that he was experimenting with different guitars for different songs, and that this time it just didn’t work out (“My hands are cold, I’m old, I have a cold” he said, chuckling). Drowned went a good deal better. Pulling off a tight ending required much eye contact between Pete and conductor. The Rock’s intricacies were somewhat swallowed up by the acoustics of the venue unfortunately, and Pete messed up the entrance and exit of his lead guitar part, the only time I’ve ever heard of such a mistake being made on a performance of this track. Just before the section of The Rock which quotes Love Reign O’er Me began, a chilled, wet breeze brought those of us in the covered seats a taste of the weather outside. Loren Gold ushered in Love Reign O’er Me itself with a fantastic piano solo; noticeably a different style from anything John Corey or Rabbit ever did. Roger hit his notes, but no one seemed to have any inkling that he was, as usual, lip-syncing the big scream after Pete’s solo. Nor did they care that their cheering drowned out the falsetto he sang at the end. Pete did the band introductions, and then the legendary synth track for Baba O’Riley started, drawing the biggest cheer of the night. Roger wasn’t quite as strong on the high Cs as he is sometimes, but it was good enough, and hard to tell with all of the crowd singing along. The violinist who is touring with the band approached Pete closely during her solo in an attempt to build chemistry, visibly cheering him up. She finished hit the last note of her solo right on time with the rest of band, except for Pete and Zak. The former then jumped as a cue to Zak for the final beat, but Zak missed it. Roger gave his usual end-of-show spiel about how the show could never have happened if it weren’t for Pete’s songwriting. Pete returned the compliment, saying he admires Roger’s courage and audacity, and adding “you know what means? It means he’s a mad f*cker.”
Support Act: Peter Wolf