Review by Trish Pottersmith
The Who, Pepsi Center, Denver: I lobbied for it to be named the Diet Pepsi Center, but no go.
Good show! It wasn't far from being sold out. The soundcheck, nice as it is, messes up the preshow thing. It was good to hang with some non-soundcheckers for a while when my peeps were at the soundcheck.
Most fun to watch on stage: Pete. He's doing this shoveling thing with his guitar when Roger is turned around rocking out to John. He makes a lot of faces and still seems slightly ill at ease during Quad. He seems to relax once he ditches the music stand and plays the stuff he knows. Every once in a while, I would catch Pete quietly singing along on a vocal that wasn't his. There's rarely any talking at all during Quad, which makes the show feel kind of formal. Not necessarily a bad thing, but I feel like Pete keeps himself reigned in.
Has the most fun on stage: Loren. Also, he's so cute. He was making faces trying to make someone laugh in the first few rows. He's also one who sings along when he doesn't have to. Same with Simes.
Most serious: Roger. His voice started having trouble pretty early on. No smoke that I could see or smell. I was really wondering if he was going to make it through the whole thing. He did, with variable results. I am not sure how he pulled off LROM. I found myself wondering if come vocals were enhanced - more than just at the end. He was consciously choosing lower notes when possible, and then all of a sudden he would nail a relatively high one somehow. I was observing that he seems concerned and angry about his vocal issues. After he first had trouble early on, he turned around and knocked over a water bottle, or tried to.
Smallest ego: Pino. The guy leaves the stage during JAE's awesome 5:15 film. Then he humbly comes back and dives right back in. I have lots of affection for him.
Nice moment: Frank Simes and Pete connected on something early on and both smiled and laughed at each other. I hadn't seen that before. Made me feel better for Frank, because I think being the music director for a piece composed by Pete might feel like a thankless task sometimes.
Biggest downer: Alan Rogan throwing picks and adults trying to grab picks more or less out of the hands of a 6 year old named Nick. A few people actually complained afterwards that Nick got the pick ("He's not going to appreciate it.") Bob made sure the kid got one. Bob, you are always watching out for the kids. I appreciate that.
Random observation: I think I'm too crabby to go to any more arena shows.
Random Pete comment: "He stepped in three or four shows ago as our drummer and did a fantastic job that first night. And he's screwed it up every night since! Scotty $5#&@!! (He probably says "Devours" but for some reason, I can't hear it. He does seem to have the brass players names down now.)
Things I didn't notice before: Simon softly backing up Pete's vocals on "I'm One", till Pete gave him a nod that he felt vocally ok. At least, that was my interpretation. I saw Pete fussing with his stabbed hand at one point.
Random Pete comment: After the band (except for Frank?) lines up to take a bow, Pete says "Look! These are the wankers I have to put up with every night!"*. To which Roger immediately yells out "Are you kidding -- we have to put up with HIM every night."* One suspects it's funny because it's true.
Favorite song of the night: The Rock. I like the films behind The Rock - it's pretty emotional, for me, watching what feels like my own life, not just The Who's, flashing by on the screen. When LROM came in, I felt it. Love > death & destruction but it doesn't always feel that way. I've noticed for a while now that I am struggling with loving this world. Maybe the thing to do is love Love. Maybe loving the world is too much to ask. I did love seeing "The Who" last night. So did my son Adrian. And I plan to love sleeping tonight.
Angels: Thank you to Bob and ozzie for working it all out.
I miss Zak.
Was that my last show? Is this their last tour? Will I go see Simon tonight? Who knows. It feels unlikely that they would launch anything this big again, but a year ago I probably didn't think this was going to happen for reals.
Normal life continues on 3 hours of sleep. 8 am staff meeting did not hold my attention for some reason :-)
*All quotes paraphrased.
Review by Bob McHugh
I arrived in Denver at 12:30PM show day, straight from the Vegas insanity. The smoke in Vegas had done a number on my throat and the cold that I thought had kicked out of my system a week or so before was making a comeback. I headed over to the Pepsi Center to pick up my 2nd row dead center tickets, one for me and one for three Pottersmiths and then headed to the hotel. After a wonderful late lunch of Thai Curry, which really got my nasal passages running, I headed back over to the Pepsi Center. I pulled into the most convenient parking lot and handed the attendant a $50 bill, for the $15 parking fee and he handed me $40 back. I told the guy that he had given me $5 too much and he thanked me for my honesty by giving me all my money back and letting me park for free. I still haven't paid to park this tour. I walked over to the VIP entrance to meet Ozzie, WHO was waiting for Trish & Adrian to arrive, so he and Adrian could go into the soundcheck. Ozzie was on the phone with Trish, because it was getting near crunch time to get in the building for soundcheck. I didn't have a wristband and was just milling around outside when all of a sudden a guy came out the door and asked if anyone wanted a soundcheck wristband for free. I said, "I'll take it thanks" and he said, "It probably won't do you much good without one of these" and pointed to his VIP Quad laminate. I said, "Well you really don't need one of those, but I have several" and I pulled one out of my pocket and put it around my neck. At this point, it dawned on me once again, what a charmed life I live when it comes to concert going. Trish & Adrian arrived, Ozzie & Adrian sprinted into the arena, I sprinted over to the car, handed Trish her ticket for the show and then headed inside to join the gang in line, just in the nick of time. Right then I realized that in all the excitement I had forgot that I had something else to put around my neck and reached in my pocket and pulled out nine or ten strands of Mardi Gras beads. It was Fat Tuesday after all. I had "borrowed" the beads from my daughter with the promise that I would return them. Ha!
The Soundcheck was a good one and the sound was pretty primo. The band ran through pretty full versions of Quadrophenia, I'm One & WAY. I think they did Dr. Jimmy as well, but I really can't remember. Pete did some wonderful blues noodling after WAY and that ended soundcheck. We then headed upstairs for a really nice full dinner buffet. Best spread of the VIP soundchecks I have been to. There were the usual conversations about THE WHO. My favorite moment was when a nice gentleman from Wyoming showed Stef and I his WHO fan club membership card from 1969. Then it was downstairs to see Vermont and to get four people down front on two tickets. After VT, I was milling around row 1. Several folks invited me to stay and I told them that I would probably start out in my seat in row 2 and step over at some point. I was talking to Lance when a little read headed boy, WHO was probably about eight or so, arrived with his mother and immediately said to Lance, "I think I remember you from the Steve Winwood concert." The kid was decked out in WHO gear and Mardi Gras beads and he had a small WHO banner draped around his neck like a scarf. He was adorable. The kid's name was Nick I think. His mom said he was a drummer. It was obvious to me that they were angling for a place in the front row, so I said loudly enough for everyone on the rail from dead center to left of that to hear, "My seat is in the 2nd row, but if I had front row, I'd let you stand in front of me." It was about two minutes until THE WHO, so I headed to my seat next to Trish & Adrian. Ozzie was safely on the rail with H. As soon as I Am The Sea started, Nick's mom was booted from row 1. I told her that I would watch him and the kid didn't miss a beat and parked himself on the rail next to Lance and his wife.
Wow I thought, eight years old and already a professional concert goer.
I thought the Quad portion of the show was very strong. Even though my favorite spot is in front of Pete, It really is great being right in front of Roger during Quad. He really seems to hit his stride during the Is it In My Head, I've Had Enough segment. Pete was as energized as Las Vegas II and once again machine gunned the front rows. Punk & the Godfather is my favorite song from the album, but I'm not crazy about the arrangement right now, with about three canned verses and Roger looking up at the screen at his younger self doing Join Together. I think Scott's drumming is a little fast on that one as well.
Scott is doing an admirable job. He is a wonderful drummer, but there is something missing. Zak is more dynamic and he really does give THE WHO that extra punch. I consider him the third member of the band now, so I hope he is back at some point. Speaking of drummers, Adrian was rocking out next to me and Nick The Kid was singing along on the rail, the top of which he only cleared by a few inches. Every once and awhile he would actually get boxed out by an adult and Trish and I would point out an open place on the rail where he could go. He finally found a sweet spot next to Dan & Peggy, WHO happily hung out with him for the rest of the show. That little kid was more familiar with Quad than 90% of the adults in attendance. He knew Keith's cameo was coming and filmed the whole bit with his camera.
It was the standard greatest hits encore of course. I really wish they would change it up a bit, but 95% of the audience laps it up. The Pepsi Center was almost full and very appreciative. It has amazed me on this tour how many more folks have showed up compared to 96. Pete told the crowd that it was great to be back in Denver, but they didn't have enough time to hike, ski, or smoke pot in the mountains. Roger sang a good portion of WAY to Nick The Kid. During WGFA I took a strand of beads off my neck, looked at it to see if it was one of the ones I had with peace signs on it, saw that it wasn't and stuck it in my pocket. During the bows I threw a peace bead necklace on the stage and it fell by Pino's feet, WHO looked down and cracked up. I then threw another one up by Roger and he almost stepped on it once and then picked it up, held it out and cracked up. Of course I then threw all the rest of my beads up on the stage, the last one to Pete and yelled, "Show us your tits!" Nick The Kid joined in the action and threw at least one of his bead necklaces up as well. As far as I know, we were the only two fanatics WHO threw beads up there. Roger gathered most of the beads and deposited some of them on Pete's speaker cabinet next to his phone, camera & other stuff that Alan Rogan puts there near the end of the show. Pete picked up one of my bead strands and stared at it intently for a few seconds, probably looking at all the little peace signs. At some point, Roger regifted one of my necklaces to Nick The Kid. At the end of Tea & Theater Dan hoisted Nick The Kid into the air and Nick held up his WHO banner for the crowd to see. The crowd roared and Pete said, "He is the amazingly cute" and then said to someone in the crowd, "Oh you're the amazingly McCute." As Pete prepared to leave the stage he took several of my beads and stuffed them in his pockets with his other stuff. He then took the bead necklace that Nick had thrown up on stage and to the crowd's delight put it around his neck and left.
After Pete & Roger left Alan Rogan came out with some of Pete's picks to throw to Nick. An adult grabbed the first one and Alan said, "It's for The Kid". A security guard got the second one and gave it to Nick. Just then his mom arrived and burst into tears when she saw him with guitar pick in hand and a big smile on his face. I think that little guy is going to remember that show for the rest of his life. I hope he gets to see THE WHO well into his teens.