I Can't Explain
Who Are You
Who Are You
Who Are You
I Can See For Miles
My Generation / Cry If You Want
My Generation / Cry If You Want
I'm Free / Amazing Journey / Sparks
Pinball Wizard / See Me, Feel Me/Listening To You
Love Reign O'er Me
Won't Get Fooled Again
Won't Get Fooled Again
Pete's power slide
Review by Simon Nicholl
I had booked this show about a month ago when I was lucky enough to get a 4th row aisle seat: the Manchester show from last Tuesday was a last-minute number. In the event I was able to grab a position on the rail: what a thrill...I was beaming and chuffed at how things had turned-out for what will probably be my last Who show. Twenty-eight shows is a pretty fair run, right?
As per the script, they strode out at 8.45pm to a healthy ovation, although you don't know how the rest of the 12000 seats (probably 75% full) are reacting. PT did half-jokingly comment that we all looked knackered because of the great weekend weather and that it was a Monday. He said that these five make-up shows were a blast to do because the short run allowed the band to go for it a little, and that he had loved taking the time to explore The Lakes and North Yorkshire before this show. This led into him waxing lyrical into how he loved the strong theatrical tradition in Sheffield (who knew?) at which point Rog tried to come in with some old nonsense about Sheffield being the Steel City, but before he could start banging on about miners or similar, Zak counted-off the start to the next number right over the top of him, hah-hah! Rog shook his head and raised his eyes to the heavens and we were away again!
I did have a bit of sympathy for the old devil as there were a couple of moments of eye-contact between Rog and me or the bloke beside me, and RD seemed to be shaking his head and making an apologetic expression, as though he thought he wasn't going full-bore. We let him know that he was doing fine, hah-hah! Late in the show he did confess to suffering from indigestion: Pete offered to burp him...Rog declined that kind offer, hah-hah! Genuinely he sounded as fine as in Manchester, and being close allowed you to see the effort that he puts in. What was that line in TKAA? "The singer wants it all to be a big laugh, and when it isn't he thinks it's all going wrong...terribly wrong."
The set-list was identical to the Manchester show I think, except the always welcome '5.15' was tacked on after 'WGFA', which itself contained an ill-advised knee slide/drop. Ouch! Two hours onstage and no dicking around with encores. Boom!
We could argue about which songs should be in or out until the cows come home and PT did say that they would have to play for four hours like Bruce Springsteen in order to please everyone! There are certain numbers or sections within songs that still press PT's (and therefore the band's) buttons: think of the 'Cry If You Want' segue or 'The Rock' instrumental. Diminished as a performer in terms of physicality for sure, but when he let's it rip there is no other guitarist that I love to see. He just can't help himself!
I know that I've said it before and it ain't rocket science, but Simon and Zak make this band fly. Just as an aside, does anyone know if the cherry red SG that Si uses is a PT original from back in the day and perhaps used on old recordings? No? Just thought I'd ask since we're here...
The time fairly flew by and I never stopped singing or smiling. Yeah, they may only be recycling trash but there is still a fair amount of magic in there too. Safe travels fellas.
Review by Pat Stanton
The show in Sheffield was a dynamic show, with the band playing brilliantly, especially Pete. It was an off night for Roger, which he attributed to indigestion when he addressed the audience at the end of the introductions.
At the beginning of the show, Pete started up again about it being Monday and why were we at a concert on Monday. He was very complimentary about playing in Sheffield, mentioning his many theatrical friends and saying that it is a great theatre city. Roger mugged a little while Pete was being complementary, mumbling that it is the steel city.
The audience around me was very enthusiastic but I understand from people in other parts of the arena that much of the audience was flat and not that into it. This could explain Pete's comment during the show that people must have had a busy weekend as they were knackered.
Pete commented that a short tour like this one allows the band to really put themselves into the shows and go all out. That attitude was very evident in Sheffield as the band played with abandon.
Pete nearly got the opening of 1921 right - it was close to as written - substituting you and I for you and me. No laugh from Roger as he was having his own issues.
The Tommy set was the best that I have heard them do during the 50+ Hits tours. The band is really clicking on this. Hopefully they will pick it back up on North America when they begin the next round of gigs.
As previously indicated, Roger was not feeling well most of the night, saying that he had indigestion and just wanted to burp all might. Pete asked him sarcastically if he wanted him to burp him but the offer was too late as this was just before the bonus 5:15. Unfortunately it seemed to effect his voice at times as it was not his normally brilliant performance. During Love Reign, his ending started with a long very high bit that was not successful, during which he broke onto laughter, looking at Pete, closing with a very long very low bit. Not a memorable rendition, still good though.
The set list was basically the same although 5:15 was now included on the set list so it was not called an encore - it just closed the show after the introductions.
Pete was very complementary about Zak, saying he has been with the band for a long time, taking over for someone who did something with the drums (my paraphrasing).
After Roger did his usual glowing intro of The Maestro who is the reason we were all there, Pete did not reciprocate as he normally does, praising Roger and his performance. Instead, he said he would wait to see if Roger could get through the next song to say anything. Roger actually rebounded on 5:15 and Pete commented "He made it", although he did not actually complement him.
It was a totally enjoyable concert. Pete carried the show in Sheffield as Roger had carried the shows in RAH and Liverpool. It is great that they can support each other in such a way that the fans always get a super show.
Review by Paul Varey
The gig at Sheffield arena was strange, yet its strangeness confirmed many of the things Pete Townshend has been saying since the start of The Who hits 50 tour. Sheffield arena is situated some distance from the center of Sheffield, much like the Milan forum and Bolognas' arena. I'm drawing the comparison because the gigs at Milan and Bologna were the ones were Pete was impressed both by the age range and, the intensity of the crowd.
In Sheffield the age range was definitely wide, in fact it was as wide as any I can remember on this tour. Unfortunately the audience intensity was way down the scale. All but the first few rows remained seated throughout the night and there was little response between songs, especially during the Tommy section of the show. Pete commented on this when he said 'modern bands wear ear sets and, don’t hear the deathly silence between songs. You lot must have had a good weekend!'. The best reaction was to the classic hits, with almost everything else getting muted applause. This response proved Pete's view that the majority of the audience only go to see the hits and, once the deeper cuts start, it’s the cue to go to the bar/restroom.
The Who and its audiences have a symbiotic relationship and, one would have thought that the muted Sheffield response would have tempered The Who's performance. However it seemed to drive Pete to new heights as, he continued to abuse his guitar with renewed venom at every opportunity and, even ending WGFA with a power slide, for the first time this tour.
It's hard to pick a stand out moment from the show as this is a band on fire at the moment. But I'm always a sucker for improv between My Generation and Cry if you Want. The Quadrophenia sections weren't half bad with 5:15 now added as the set closer. If only the audience had been more interested in seeing and, listening to The Who than in filming themselves at a Who concert this would have been a great night.
Finally a word about the 'supporting cast'. Zak was an immense presence driving the show along and, got special praise from Pete at the end of the show. Zak was ably assisted by Jon Button on bass, who again drew praise from Pete. It’s the third time I've seen Jon play with The Who and, each time he seems to be enjoying his new role more and more. Pete said the band were enjoying this small selection of dates as they didn’t have to face a grueling tour schedule after them and, this showed in their performance. Hopefully the dates in the US, which are scheduled in the same manner will be as good. Now where's that passport...