Review by Dan Di Carlo
The 3rd and final Who gig of the tour for me would be at Wembley in aid of charity. I came dressed to the nines in a boating blazer which seemed fitting for the last gig of the tour. Like in Birmingham, my girlfriend and I were seated bang in the centre of the stage (actually Birmingham was a bit more on Pete's side) and one row further back (7th). We had a good view though and from my seat I could see several who fans I knew which always adds to the feel-good vibes of attending a show, that group, almost family like atmosphere.
Again, Vintage Trouble (the only support act I've ever seen that I wished would play for longer) rocked the house and got everyone pumped and in a great mood before the Who came on. Pete was wearing what first looked like a white lab coat... what the hell, he is kind of the mad scientist of the Who. This gig was being filmed and Pete, while not going through a Rolling Stones type costume change, offered variations throughout the night of the white jacket, white jacket and hat, t-shirt and hat, t shirt and no hat.. very stylish.
The gig was fairly low volume again (or maybe I'm just going deaf?) I would also say the band played it a little safe, getting a tight performance lacking in any screw ups, but leaving out some of the wild soloing (from Pete). I say a lack of screw ups, there were one or two. Pete singing the second verse of “I'm One” when he should have been singing the 3rd. He realised after the first 2 lines, calling himself a “f***ing c*nt” and then swiftly singing the correct verse from the start. I wonder if that will make the proposed DVD? Also “I've Had Enough” saw Roger miss his first vocal line as the mic took a bit too long to reel in from the swinging he does in the intro. Shame they weren't filming at Birmingham when he made the perfect catch!
“5.15” was a good performance. Overall Pete looked a little less energetic than the other shows I saw but he brought out the windmills on certain tracks that really injected the show with energy and this was one of them. After John's bass solo on the screens finished, Pete walked towards the crowd with a funny expression on his face, mimed two hand tapping on his guitar as if to say “what's all that fancy tapping stuff about?” He then let rip with a series of windmills, machine gun strafed the crowd, played some lead and bounced up and down. This was not a man of 68 before us, this was a timeless legend of rock, this was an ever youthful entity bound in a 68 year old body and barely held back by it. This was the coolest man to ever set foot on a stage. That isn't even hyperbole.
After Quadrophenia had come to a brilliant close with Love Reign O'er Me, Pete made a speech about how Quadrophenia is from 1973, about 1963 and being performed in 2013. He told us if any critics called it nostalgia, it wasn't.. it was pre history... It's the dawn of creation! ..it's the very beginning!! A typically great Pete line, told in style (check on Youtube).
The “And More” section were all the same songs I'd seen, I would have preferred a lot of tracks over You Better You Bet, but it gets the crowd going. And seeing the amount of people that have packed out the arenas to hear a concept album from 1973, I am hugely impressed. Quadrophenia is iconic but I've always had the feeling it was the movie that most people were familiar with, the album being a more esoteric and in depth proposition for the more hardcore Who fans. But every night the arenas are packed out with people of all ages loving every minute of the show. Pete had fun screwing with Scott at the end of Baba O Riley, dragging out the ending and keeping him on his toes.
So that's it, the end of the tour and what a revelation it's been. I must give massive praise to everyone involved. Not only Pete and Roger, but Frank Simes for his brilliant musical direction. The incredible horn players, the keyboards and synth players, not to forget Pino who has been doing this for 11 years now but has done an extra good job with the bass parts this tour. Then of course there's Simon who manages to do his own thing but stick to the right vibe and bring out the licks you most love, as well as providing some excellent vocals. Then there's Scott who does an amazingly solid job. He never looks unsure for a split second, and though I really miss Zak, the drumstool has been well filled. I hope I haven't forgotten anything. I will just end by saying these gigs have allowed me to fulfil one of my dreams of taking my girlfriend to a who gig. We met through loving the who and I was always hoping we could see a show together, seeing two was even better!