Review by Pat Stanton
What a fun show last night at Caesars! Pete and Roger were back on the same planet and even though there were some glitches throughout, everyone had a great time both on stage and in the audience.
The set list was changed, or as Pete said at one point, "I told you it was a dodgy set list". They opened with Who Are You. not I Can't Explain, followed by Substitute. Pete then told us that he must have been very bad the other night because Roger was making him do Squeeze Box, which he said more like Squeeeeeze. Trouble was, Roger forgot to sing the squeeze, squeeze tease verse. Pete told him after it was done so he proceeded to start to sing it, forgetting words along the way but the audience sang it with him, very loudly, giving him help. He attributed his forgetfulness to a senior moment. It was good fun.
Pete told us that sometimes he tells stories and chats but they just wanted to get done and go home so none of that tonight, laughing as he said it. Of course he was joking.
The Quad set was probably the high point for me. Roger's Love Reign was incredibly powerful, with John's long intro just beautiful. Gone was The Rock, a standard since Roger was ill to give him a short break, and instead they sang Real Me and The Punk and The Godfather.
Drowned started and Pete stopped after the first verse after he had already done a mini sound check, asking for the volume on his guitar to be turned up repeatedly, and demanded a different guitar. He fiddled with that one and then asked for the first line. Roger yapped a little at him and Pete told him to sing the first verse. Roger did and it was incredible. Pete picked up and they improvised it, with Roger coming in and out and some verses being repeated. This flowed seamlessly into I'm One, with Roger of course going back to his harmonica. Fabulous!
Roger was bouncing all over the stage as usual in Join Together and when he reached the center section for the sing along, he motioned them to stand up. The first 2 rows of the middle section basically sat for the entire show but they stood when Roger motioned them to stand, sang a few Join Togethers and then all sat down again. After they sat down, Roger looked at them and said, "I bought the seat and I am going to f*cking sit in it". When two of the front row people left immediately after (just to get drinks) he thought they were insulted and he laughed and shrugged. They came back.
My Generation was moved to the back of the show and included a full rendition of Naked Eye at the end. The fans went crazy and both Pete and Roger smiled broadly.
Relay was back and The Seeker was cut.
At the end of the show, Roger pulled a little boy on stage for a minute, with the youngster dressed in a Who jersey. Very sweet.
There was another glitch during the Amazing Journey/Sparks number, with Roger missing his cue for the Captain Walker verse. When he tried to sing it late, the bus just kept running and he moved on to his tambourine. Oh well.
Pete and Roger were laughing and smiling with each other all night. It is always great to see them work together.
In the intros at the end, Zak got his usual applause and Roger gave a half hearted plug for the SSHH show afterwards, not giving the location but telling us to look it up online. Pete said that the drummer position has always been the toughest spot to fill, noting the first drummer spent more time under the drums than in his seat. Funny line. Roger added that he is only a drummer, not really a musician, laughing. Ouch considering how many times Pete has said that Roger is only a singer. But what a singer. Pete did note that Zak plays guitar with his girlfriend's band (his words, not mine).
All in all, this was the best of the first three shows in the Vegas residency. The band is on a roll.
Review by Lauren J. Hammer
THIS WAS THE NIGHT!
(So far, anyway.)
Vegas 3 was an unexpectedly wonderful show, thanks to a better crowd (than the first two Vegas nights) and to Roger finally shaking up the set list!
There were a lot of glitches and missteps, but the energy was great, and they were ADVENTUROUS. It was fucking fantastic!
The show started off poorly in my world, with Who Are You. It's a great song, but I do NOT like it as the opener. I’m a purist. I need the fresh burst of I Can’t Explain. Nothing else will do. But I understand R's thinking. With the casual, dead casino crowds, I'm guessing he thought they might get a little more energy going, by starting with a CSI song. Not for me, anyway.
Then right into Substitute. Fine enough, but personally, I much prefer both Can't Explain and The Seeker (both of which got dropped).
Then Miles, followed by our first real surprise of the night - the first 2017 appearance of Squeeze Box.
Between dropping Can't Explain and adding Squeeze Box (Roger knows that while I don't actually dislike it, I think it's a waste of setlist space), I felt like I was being punished. I came all the way to Vegas for this? My night was not off to a great start.
But then, I spotted the setlist right in front of me. Holy moly! As restitution for my early suffering, I would soon be rewarded with The Real Me AND Punk and the Godfather. WORTH IT!
Once I saw that, I totally chilled out.
Back to Squeeze Box. As with its appearances on The Who Hits 50, it was accompanied by the really wonderful video of John's animated Who By Numbers artwork. When I focus on that, I can make the best of it. Also, I went back to the 6th row, to visit with my dear friend, Alan, who I also know is also tortured by Squeeze Box.
Digression: Security was a nightmare. They SUCKED. As far as I'm concerned the job of venue security is to facilitate a good customer experience and to only step in WHEN THERE IS A PROBLEM. Instead, these people were proactively intrusive and unpleasant throughout the entire night. I was repeatedly hassled for stepping a foot or two into the aisle to see around the video guy, who spent most of the night camped out right in front of me. (I was front row, inside aisle, of the Pete/center section - right in front of Pete.) They again came and hassled me when I went up to visit Alan in the 6th row. They CONTINUALLY walked in front of us to hassle people coming down the aisle just to take a photo or two. Dozens of times. Caesar’s security (& the staff in the merch store outside of the venue) get an F- rating. By contrast, the staff at the Bellagio, was consistently friendly and helpful, during my two days there. Feel free to pass that on. Caesar’s sucked. Bellagio rocked.
Back to Squeeze Box...
Later in the song, Roger really botched the lyrics. Afterwards, he said some stuff about that, and ended up spontaneously leading the crowd in an acapella singalong of a chorus of Squeeze Box. It was GREAT! I wonder if someone captured that. Who knew, Squeeze Box could be so much fun?!
Kids was strong. I really enjoy the video on this one. Jimmy riding along the cliffs with the giant target is just cool.
Blue Eyes was reliable.
Join Together was rough with the WRONG PEOPLE in the first four rows of the center section.
As is the problem with so many Vegas/casino shows, we were plagued by the first four rows of the center section, sitting on their asses all night long - except when Roger scolded them, multiple times during Join Together then at the very end, with Baba and WGFA.
He FINALLY got them up before the end of JT, but they all sat back down at the end of the song. Pathetic.
Sometimes Pete and Rog think they get tired of seeing the same faces up front every night, but hopefully this experience reminds them that our joyous faces are helluva lot better than people who don't give a shit and just suck the energy out of the show.
Oh, and there was a really fun series of moments between Roger and Shari, during JT. She was way off to the side, Pete side, near the front, and Roger came right over to her during his JT roaming. They were groovin’. Great energy, to counterbalance the dead weight of the center section poseurs.
Sadly, I think it was JT when Pete put his sunglasses on. I HATE when the glasses are on. I LOVE his eyes, and, he feels more connected to the rest of us, without hiding behind the damn glasses. I don’t remember how long they stayed on, but it was for a chunk of songs.
Relay. No intro from Pete this time. Solid. But I'd much rather hear Let's See Action (or any number of other things).
You Better - the usual.
But then, the magic began.
The Quad mini-set was absolutely fucking phenomenal!!!
The Real Me
Punk and the Godfather (or for us Americans, Punk Meets the Godfather)
Drowned (acoustic with SHARED vocals)
Love Reign O'er Me
I sure hope Roger can handle doing Real Me/Punk back to back, with the two song break, afterwards. It was soooooo good.
Best surprise of all was Jon Button doing a highly credible job with Real Me. Anybody who knows me, knows that I consider John Entwistle to be the single most astonishing musician I've ever seen on stage. I find Jon B. a slightly better fit than Pino (both quite talented, and both good guys), but neither "the" guy. That all said, he did a great job on Real Me.
And Punk is one of the songs I've been most actively lobbying for. I found it the highlight of the 2012/2013 Quad shows, EVERY NIGHT. And Punk tonight, did not disappoint. Oh, it was so good for me. I desperately hope they keep it, and I hope they re-boot the awesome Punk video footage from the Quad tour.
But wait, there was MORE!
After those two demanding rockers, it was time for Pete to step up to the mic with back-to-back Drowned and I'm One.
But "things didn't turn out, quite as we expected."
Pete kept having guitar monitor problems. Couldn't hear himself. Stopped and started multiple times. When he did finally start singing, it was not at the beginning. But then he still couldn't hear himself and stopped again. Before re-starting, he asked how the lyrics start. Both Horace (who was next to me, right in front of Pete) and Roger effectively cued him, but then he turned to Roger, and invited HIM to sing!
Roger sang the opening verse, with Pete on acoustic. R was not in strong voice, after Real Me/Punk, but I LOVED it. I don't think they have EVER done that before. Roger sometimes sings the full band version, but, to the best of my recollection, never the acoustic version. It was like Tea and Theater or Man in a Purple Dress. Way fucking cool.
The rest of the song, Pete did the vast majority of the vocals, but Roger sang along for some of it. ALL GREAT. I LOVE when they both sing, whether simultaneously, or alternating.
Then Pete did I'm One. Great to get BOTH Drowned and I'm One on the same night!
(Hey Pete - when do we get some small venue, GA solo shows, a la 1996?!)
Lastly, Love Reign. The count in was a wee bit off, but no big deal. I'm sure nobody but the band noticed.
Roger was in shockingly strong voice, the first half of the song. Not quite as strong at the end. But no complaints.
Again, I really, really, really hope he decided he can handle this Quad sequence. LOVE! LOVE! LOVE!
And in case you did not notice, they did drop The Rock, in order to make this happen. In talking after the show, pretty much all of us missed The Rock and think it's great, but ALL OF US thought that the trade was a big win.
EVERYONE I talked to after the show was beside themselves with how phenomenally good the Quad set was.
Then after Love, another vocal break with Eminence Front. It was fine. Not especially strong nor especially weak.
Then we got My Gen w/ Cry if You Want, slotted late in the show, which felt really right to me. I liked it there.
Again, Roger flubbed the Cry lyrics. As most people know, I LOVE that they include it. IMO, it's the most Who-like track and some of the best writing on It's Hard, but Roger just needs to STUDY THE WORDS. GREAT Pete lyrics, IMO, but for whatever reason, he just hasn't locked them down. And I wish they would start at the beginning and do the entire thing.
Silver lining was a nice interlude of both Pete and Rog singing "You can cry if you want." I love when they do that. I'd love more of it.
I also wish they'd add in, "Let your tears flow, let your past go.” So poignant.
But in any event, while not a great rendition, at least they kept it, and that made me happy.
Then, not on the setlist, they went right from Cry into a COMPLETE Naked Eye, where both Roger and Pete made it through all of the verses, with no major hiccups. Not the best version I've seen, but solid and brought great joy to many, including myself and my estranged friend, John, who I just had to go hug at the end of Naked Eye. That's two estranged relationships this tour that have been (at least partially) healed by the inclusion of Naked Eye.
Could it get any better?
From there, they moved right into the always extraordinary Tommy sequence. Cry If You Want into Naked into Amazing Journey/Sparks (after that amazing Quad sequence). My Who cup runneth over. Joy. Pure joy.
What a great fucking set. What a great fucking show!
Back to the nitty gritty. Roger punctured one of the tambourines right out of the gate, necessitating that he switch hands.
I still so want a tambourine from one of the nights I'm at - preferably one that he’s beat the crap out of. After all these many shows, I still don't have one.
Roger missed where Pete thought he should come in to do his "Captain Walker didn't come home," bit. Roger then started gearing up to come in on the next round, but just when he was starting, Pete abruptly shifted to the next phase of the song. Crossed signals. Awkward.
The rest of it was all good.
I could again, feel Roger struggling a bit with the Pinball Wizard crouch.
They finished off with the crowd pleasing Baba and WGFA.
Pete did his one little leap at the end of Baba. I really wish I’d seen acrobatic Pete in the 70s. Even at 50, now - I’m still a “young Who fan,” always on the wrong side of that great Keith divide.
No slide, during WGFA.
All in all, a truly spectacular night. Like I said at the beginning, many glitches and miscues, but they are all minor snafus in an adventurous night with a GREAT setlist.
Have I mentioned today, just how much I love them?
- Pete said we were the best of the Vegas crowds. (Which having heard reports from friends at nights 1 & 2, is unquestionably true.)
- Roger was in his usual stage outfit. Pete has ditched the dashing white shirt that looked so good, and is back in a t-shirt. But it’s a new, clean t-shirt, so no complaints from me. Zak was wearing a shirt from his side band, Sshh.
- Other than this one woman, Caron, who I just met that night, but who is in the 100+ club, the only other actual Who fans in the first four rows of the center section, were a dad and his young son. Towards the end of the show, Roger let the little kid up past the barricade, up to him, for a quick hello. It was sweet.
- Right before the show, someone (Zak?) threw out a whole bunch of small flyers to the front rows - promoting Sshh’s aftershows at the Sand Dollar Lounge. At the end of the night, Roger picked one up and told the crowd about it. While that was cool for Zak, I was so feeling for Simon, for whom Roger/Pete/The Who have NEVER done anything like that (that I am aware of).
- H and Matt and Alan and Bill D. (Denver) and Loren G., and I all went. (Already in my plans, before the flyers.) Sshh had a lot of energy. Kind of punk rock. Zak on guitar. His GF, Sshh on vocals. And another guy on drums. Plus weird, “erotic” dancers. I might have enjoyed them in another setting, but the place was disgusting, filled with cigarette smoke. It was like returning to the dark ages. Still, I’m glad I went and checked them out.
- Who shows are dangerous. I wrenched my knee during Punk. By the next day, I could barely walk and was wheelchair bound through my travel day home. Please send healing vibes my way. Thanks.
Review by Shari Soultree
I'm The Guy In The Sky Flying High Flashing Eyes - Vegas III 8/4/17
I love Caesars Palace, my row CC in the arched theater is a far Pete front row! The band commanded from note one, opening with Who Are You, way to really fire up the crowd and get things rolling! Appearing taller in energy than men on stilted pogo sticks, they errupted into Substitute, the campy ode to their R & B roots and among my personal collection of favourites!
Roger has created quite the set, Pete confided as chills rolled over my already existing ones, complete with hair standing on end, from head to toe!!!
A welcome whimsical change after Pete continued on..."Rog, is really Pun-ishing me for my comments the other night", as they twirled into Squeezebox, a tune I've adored since childhood long before I was able to grasp the bursting lyrical entendre and getit! Simply endearing and fabulously fun!
The surprise and excitement continued all night. My vantage point and aisle space allowed me to really cut loose and get lost in every delicious dreamy note!!!
Join Together exploding like a pack of kangaroos and Roger hopping right in my face really took things to a crescendo!
Like changing weather, each Who song has a different grove; sunny, stormy, or earth shattering hurricane, some songs, my favourites, have it all! Join Together for example; beginning with the wirey Jew Harp chirping like a field of crickets, then reaching beyond a towering inferno put out by a tsunami of galeing laughta!
Traveling Beyond twice as fast, they wove and spun Relay, connecting us all the more like newly formed strands of DNA...but that was NOT all, it just kept getting Bettaaaaaa!!!
The Quadrophenia segment was like an uncharted universe with the unabashed exposure that is The Real Me, Roger vulnerable and imploring us to see all of Who they really are and their vast depths!
Just when my soul was a bottomless cavern, the explosive truth, timeless tale preached, The Punk and The Godfather, the definitive tune from my very 1st show at tender 15 in '82, as punky as teenagers in a time warp, the seasoned rockers continued to taunt and daunt us non-stop!!!
Pete, grabbing for an untuned acoustic and grasping for the beginning line attempted Drowned, after Alan came quick with a ready axe, Pete meekly asked Rog how it starts when the leader of the sung word took the entire 1st verse and they spontaneously proceeded to tandem sing the entire overwhelmingly loving ditty, so sweet and rare, I could've drowned in me own heart shed tears!!!
Pete continued the wave rushing right along into I'm One.
Priceless enough yet, like endless crashing waves, they rushed O'er us with a spine tingling, raging Love Reign O'er, O'er, O'er Me!
Just when I truly thought they were unstoppable, a late set stuttering and shaking rendition of My Generation that made Elvis swivel his hips from the sky and twitching right into Cry If You Want into, oh my God's, the Wholy Grail that is only seen through the kaleidoscope into anotha realm, Naked Eye, telling us everything we need to know and more, beyond our neighbor's wall!!! The sincerity, punctuation, and pupil dilating elation is still palpable!!! I came hoping for a propa Naked PunKing and have already received far beyond my wildest imagination.
I trust The Who wi11 continue to deliver here in Vegas, where what happens stays etched in body, heart and soul forever!!!
For now, Nothing more needs to be said, Vegas 3 goes to 11!!!