Review by Paul Clarke
I have to say that it was a truly incredible experience. The production of the piece was superb and it felt like a complete event.
The band came on with no fanfare and just milled about as I am the sea played on until Rog called the band to arms with the opening line of The real me. If I was being ultra critical I would say that both the bass and drums were a little low in the mix for my liking. The snare lacked "crack" and the toms were a little muffled. Pino was all over the bass as always but can only ever be no more than a hired hand. Certainly his efforts did not seem worthy of much camera time.
It was very evident to me that this was Roger's show and to his absolute credit he was on incredible form. How he does it I just don't know. The arrangements have been altered slightly to cater for his deepening voice but he did the Who legacy proud. Pete completely recognised Roger's input which I was glad to hear.
Pete himself played really well but for me his role was perfunctionary rather than as the centre stage leader of old. He was clearly into it and what can I really expect from a 68 year old bloke? But a certain something seemed missing.
The extra musicians played exceptionally well and really carried the piece. Simon was great and played some incredible lead guitar whilst the big screens showed Pete playing Rhythm! That must grate a bit!
Highlights for me were 5:15, Bell boy and the instrumental tracks. 5:15 was the track where the whole band really took off. They flew through it and it was probably the best performance of the night. The added bonus of seeing John really served to show how much he is missed and how unique he was. He got a massive cheer from the crowd. Keith's appearance was also a great touch and really well done. The two instrumentals were impeccably played but for me it was the backdrops that made them. Really poignant and thought provoking. And so LROM brought the piece to an end but with a strangely subdued ending.
The "more" part was what it was. A reward for being good. It was actually referred to by Rog as Who karaoke. How many times did he offer the mike to the crowd to sing?! Possibly to rest his voice on the tricky high bits but very much out of the stadium rock book!
Pete gave a lengthy introduction to the band and gave credit where it was due though strangely I thought his remarks about Zak's non involvement were a little disparaging. No reference to his injury but a throw away remark about "doing an LP with his girlfriend or something. Whatever". Scott could be adding his name to the other 9 or 10 drummers who have played for the band on a more regular basis.
Anyway, the hits were the hits and the band did a good job. There was a great improvised ending to BOR and I noticed a couple of clenched fisted celebratory air punches from some of the band members.
And so the night was brought to an end by the customary latter day classic that is Tea and Theatre. I know it has it's critics but for me this is the perfect set closer and a song I really like.
A cracking gig that just reminded me how special this band continue to be.