Liverpool Sound and Vision
Review by Kev Black Panther
To the sounds of the crashing waves of "I am the sea", the Who entered the stage. An almighty roar echoed around as the first chords of the "Real me" reverberated around the full to the rafters of Liverpool Echo Arena.
Quadrophenia like we have never heard before in all its glory, well apart from two of the protagonists of the original album, Keith Moon and John Entwistle, although both made an appearance in the overhead video show, the largest roar of the night when Entwistle appeared blazing away at a bass solo during 5.15, from this seasoned Who campaigner there was just a hint of a tear.
Moon appearing shortly after his vocal track used on Bell Boy receiving a rapturous applause. Sandwiched in between was a lacklustre version of Drowned, a favourite of many but this was the time that those in need made their sharp exits. As the show reached its climax the Who went into overdrive with a storming Doctor Jimmy, the crowd joining in with the raucous lyrics followed by the instrumental "The Rock" with the backdrop showing moments from history during Daltrey and Townshend's lifetime, poignant to say the least and being Liverpool the biggest cheer was reserved for the image of John Lennon, and then........it was all rise for the National Anthem... "Love reign o'er me" the hairs on the back of the neck were stood to attention even allowing for a slight wobble on the lyrics, it was sublime.
Finishing with a run through of a selection of hits with "You Better you bet" receiving a roaring sing along from the exuberant fans and when they hit the closer "Tea and Theatre" it was a chance to reflect on the two hours of unbridled joy that had proceeded.
Young and old left the auditorium full of admiration one old dear was heard to say "I’m 72 and that was the best night of my life", she wasn't far wrong. The Who still have power and energy to produce one of the finest "Rock Shows" on the planet.
Review by Lauren from Boulder
Liverpool was a great show. Not the best I've seen, but stronger, IMO, than Birmingham.
Maybe it wasn't a malfunction the other night, as Roger sang all of Punk and the Godfather. He turns around and sings to the screen - but hey, I can live with that compromise.
Pete wore the damn sunglasses ALL night long.
Pretty much the same, other than they did some focused work on the transition into Helpless Dancer, with Pete and Scott working on the count off.
I just have to mention that catering in Liverpool was surprisingly good. 2 for 2 in the UK! I'd even say it was one of the two best meals I had on the tour. (First night in Chicago was the other one. Eddie liked one of the Carolinas the best.) But this was a very, very impressive spread. And, both here and Brum, they included hard cider in the complimentary drinks!
This arena was more contemporary, and there was room for all three portals. My, what a difference that makes in the visual presentation. I'd give up the visuals for a great performance night, any time, but this night, we got both.
They were strong right out of the gate, and for the most part, it never flagged.
Tonight was the night that Scott locked down the job. He's like the quarterback who just won the starting job while he was filling in for the injured marquee player. I could be wrong, but my gut instinct is that as of tonight, it's now his job to lose.
And, as a side note, Pete has learned Scott's last name for intros.
Let's see, what else...
Frank had NO HAT for the first song.
Pete wore a hat all night long (his Australia look).
The crowd was highly responsive to both the John segment and the Keith segment. Not to take anything away from US audiences, but I think the UK crowds, overall, are more profoundly moved by seeing John and Keith. Perhaps it's because more of them saw the actual Who intact.
During Bellboy, we had some fun moments with Roger -
While most of the audience was watching Keith on the screen, we were kind of watching Keith with Roger.
Keith - "I wander in early to work."
Roger - Bwa-ha-ha-ha.
Keith - "You could learn a lot, from a life like mine."
Roger - Um. Yeah. I don't think so.
(Words made up to convey what Roger conveyed.)
For those keeping score, Pete did sing the lesbians and queers line in Helpless Dancer again.
I had a nice tongue action (from a distance!) moment with Loren during Who Are You.
As I have discussed elsewhere, I am quite certain that the boos in the crowd were for Margaret Thatcher, NOT Princess Diana.
At the end, the band gave the audience repeated thanks for the crowd singing along throughout the piece.
From the front row, I don't really have the perspective of the whole arena, but it seemed to me that there were a whole lot more people singing along to Quad than there were at Brum.
Review by Paul Varey
For the best part of a year The Who have been touring ‘Quadrophenia and more’. I’ve been lucky enough to see the show four times now, from Madison Square Gardens to Liverpool, by way of New Jersey and Manchester (UK). It would be easy to do a comparison of the shows: Zak playing drums in the US and Scott taking the seat on the European leg, ‘Behind Blue Eyes’ being replaced by ‘You Better you Bet’ in the UK, Pete’s banter with the audience and the different places he jammed. But to me this tour was about more than the music.
The original Quadrophenia tour was beset with technical problems; the tour in the 90s was too theatrical and lost its impact because of this. The version that hit Liverpool on Sunday 30th June was as near to a definitive as it gets. By presenting Quadrophenia in a stripped down way The Who appear to have reconnected with the material. Fire, aggression, and the unexpected have replaced frustration and theatricality. This truly is The Who at the top of their game and it’s great to see John and Keith playing a role. I’m not ashamed to say that whilst John’s bass solo brought a smile to my face, some of the clips of Keith brought a tear to my eye the first time I saw them.
In reconnecting with Quadrophenia, The Who have also reconnected with their audience. Roger and Pete may have bantered with the audience more at some venues than at others, but what really mattered was the emotional bond between audience and band. The Who weren’t some distant band, playing to a click track, and ruled by effects, they were part of the audience and the audience were part them. As Pete said to the audience in Liverpool ‘you are the sea’, and ‘the sea’ was stormy and calm depending on the music made by The Who. Maybe just maybe ‘Lifehouse’ isn’t such a difficult concept to understand after all.
There is a great deal of love and respect between the band and between the band and between Roger and Pete, and it’s good to see the band enjoy themselves on stage. The smiles on everyone’s faces at the end of the show in Liverpool told their own story. They knew they had performed a stunning show. Pete may have complimented Scott Devours by saying ‘Good one tonight young un’, but the truth is it was a good night for both young and not so young. The ‘Orrible ‘Oo at their best ‘You better you bet’.