Review by Gigi Barlowe
Well here I am 40 years from my first Who show in 75' at the Spectrum in Philly. Back then I was in the nose bleeds and was hopeful that the air I was breathing would eventually circulate down to those 4 guys on the stage. Many years have passed, I've seen many Who shows over the years that I stopped counting awhile back. I started out as a fan, I became a friend, I had opportunities seeing and hanging out with the band that most fans could only hope for.....At the end of the day, I remain a fan.
Instead of going to all the NY area shows, which has been my thing to do in years past, I found myself deciding to pick one show and that was Barclays in Brooklyn. It seems I chose well. It was a killer Who show. I left my husband in the lodge and found myself in the front row with my eight year old daughter in tow. It was her first Who show and I am so grateful that she is old enough and wise enough to "GET IT". For me it was like coming full circle with this band and the music that has been so much a part of my life that it is a part of me.
I really didn't know what to expect, yes they were great last time around and I'm always so amazed that they continue to be such a powerful force to be reckoned with. But.....they are getting older and well...I just was not sure they could still go out there and DO IT...But......
They did! They opened with "I Can't Explain" it was raw and had a lot of punch. From there they launched into "The Seeker", "Who Are You" and "Kids Are Alright". I have to admit that I felt as though I was in a dream. It was as if I had traveled back in time, How could they sound this good? So much power, no John Entwistle... How could that be? I was not alone, all around me other people that I have known for years, (that have seen many more shows than I) were all saying the same thing… I heard snippets of "wow they are really on", "this might be the best they have been since 2000" and the comments kept on coming and the momentum kept mounting...Roger got louder and more powerful, Pete got more aggressive on guitar and the windmills, faster.
I have always loved the banter between Pete and Roger and even the occasional grunt for John...Well the banter and the stories were flowing tonight. Pete was in great form and seemed to be in a up mood. He joked about the next song being written before most of us were born...and if we knew it, we must be really old, something about buses and wheel chairs after the show..I think that was before "My Generation" which had an extended jam and Roger belting out the lyrics..Roger's voice was the best I have heard it in many years, he is such a smart vocalist. "Behind Blue Eyes" was next and this was especially emotional for me, my daughter is learning this one on guitar but that's not why...It always puts me in a very nostalgic state of mind. I was screaming as they launched into "Slip Kid", (Who By Numbers is a personal favorite) Roger, spitting out the lyrics and Pete very active in his corner of the stage. "Bargain came next and was truly spectacular as was "Join Together". The audience got involved with "You Better ,You Bet, and Roger was covering every corner of the stage engaging everyone to sing along. I got very quiet for "I'm One", in fact everyone did. It is always special and Pete's voice was strong and clear. "Love Reign O’er Me" has become a staple in the set over the last few tours, Roger transforms into his former Rock God self and if you close one eye...he is all that. For me...he is still that even with both eyes open. "Eminence Front" was next. This song always reminds me of JAE, why, because John once told me that he created that riff and Pete stole it from him...Is that true? I'm not sure but it always make me think of him and I always get teary. Next came "A Quick One". I must admit it's not my favorite even though I know every word and every note. It was a good break for me to catch my breath, ask my daughter how she was doing and check up in the lodge to see if I could see my husband, John..He was wearing a white shirt and was standing and dancing his butt off throughout the entire show, He was easy to spot. He was happy to have 3 seats to himself so he could dance to his hearts delight. He forgave me for abandoning him which I have been doing at Who shows since we met.
What can be said about "Tommy", it was an AMAZING JOURNEY...so cliché but true. Amazing Journey, Sparks, Pinball Wizard, See Me, Feel Me. Sparks was especially spectacular, John, (my husband) said it was the best he's heard it played since 76'. Pete was on fire, lots of windmills, lunging and I think I remember a jump or two. Oh I almost forgot the most important part, tambourine smashing. Lisa Seckler, who was next to me kept trying to tell Roger something. Before I realized what was happening, he was talking about my daughter Mehret and another little boy just behind us. He was impressed that they stayed up and got through a Who show and that they were "the next generation"... He then handed us the two tams from the show. My little girl was jumping up and down with excitement. Baba O'Riley and Won't Get Fooled Again were full of the that RAW, POUNDING POWER that only THE WHO can provide. The audience was on their feet for most of the show but those last two songs brought a roar from the crowd that could only mean one thing.. THE WHO are still the GREATEST ROCK AND ROLL BAND...bar none.
I must also give a shout out to the supporting players. Simon is so strong on vocals and guitar and he gives Roger the chance to shine where he needs too. I was so close that I didn't really see Zak very well although I heard him. My husband, John has that great vantage point of being on Pete's side with a great view of Zak. He said, having see Keith Moon many times, including at Woodstock....He always thought Moon to be the best there ever was. Well....he said that he can now say that Zak is the best there is today!!! Pino is sure and steady which is perfect for me since no one will ever come close to replacing JAE...not only is Loren and great addition to the lineup, he's a hellava nice guy.
We ended our evening backstage with Mehret meeting Pete and Roger and getting her tambourine signed by Roger, they both could not have been any sweeter (see photos in gallery). I have known Roger and Pete since I'm eighteen years old, that's a lot of years, I was a kid myself. All in all another great evening with my favorite guys...
Review by Joel Naftelberg
Barclay’s Center Brooklyn was my 2nd stop after Nassau Coliseum LI on The Who Hits 50 Tour spring 2015 pass through of the New York Metro area. After Nassau and the Roger ‘put out the pot’ scandal & Pete’s moderately snarky demeanor during the show (which I later found out were a direct consequence of some domestic partner squabbling) my expectations were not that high. (No pun intended)…
The trip to Brooklyn via NJ Transit & NYC subway was adventurous to say the least. Delays in New Jersey raised my anxiety level – which were really just the normal pre Who show butterflies I always seem to experience. Once on the subway I began to really sense the anticipation of a ‘New York’ Who show. The #1 Train was full of Who fans young and old and the expression of excitement mixed well with rush hour commuters.
Tonight I’d meet my 28 year old daughter Chelsea at the venue – she was 7 when she went to see The Who’s Tommy on Broadway and started then to absorb ‘the gospel of Pete Townshend’. She saw The Who perform for the first time in 2006 at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville CT and again with friends in LA in 2010. So this was her third Who concert. I was also bringing two friends, Who virgins, to the show at Barclay’s.
On a side note, Barclay’s is an awesome venue. It is what any inner city arena in the modern age should be. Great seating, easy access, and awesome sound along with seeing old and meeting new friends all contributed to a phenomenal evening.
Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Famers Joan Jett & the Blackhearts delivered a rousing opening set featuring such classics as "Bad Reputation," "I Love Rock 'n Roll," "I Hate Myself for Loving You" and Joan reached into her Runaways days with "Cherry Bomb." Joan is ageless. She rocks out in a skintight spandex suit at 56. She has a long history with the Who, having also opened for them during their 1982 "Farewell Tour." What goes around comes around.
Although Pete Townshend has indicated at times that he’s tired of The Who and doesn’t enjoy performing I can guarantee that not a soul in the house would have believed that to be the case by the time tonight’s 2 hour greatest hits set ended.
Pete along with Roger Daltrey and the extraordinary Who Band proved that they've still got the goods. This show, unlike the recent Quadrophenia tour, features a barrage of familiar hits mixed in with rarely performed early classics like "The Seeker" and the mini-opera "A Quick One." This show is without a doubt a crowd-pleasing affair, Roger & Pete are well versed in their signature moves, among them: Daltrey's microphone twirl and Townshend's famous windmill. Each power chord or microphone catch were greeted rapturously by the crowd consisting of an obvious mix of young & old, some of whom as Townshend humorously pointed out, weren't even alive when the band started out.
It’s New York and The Who came out hot, beginning with a powerful rendition of "I Can't Explain.” Pete & Roger are joined by current band line up consisting of longtime members Zak Starkey (son of Ringo Starr) on drums, Pino Palladino on bass, Pete's younger brother Simon Townshend on guitar, Jon Corey, Frank Simes & Loren Gold on keyboardists & as backup singers — these artists delivered material that any rock fan has sung to, jumped to and played air guitar to with precision & simultaneously remained faithful to the original recordings.
Pete offered the crowd a rock & roll history lesson throughout the show. "Here's another one that we played at the Monterey Pop Festival," he said as a preamble to "My Generation," adding that anyone old enough to have been there should take advantage of the venue's "special buses, wheelchairs and breathing apparatuses." He prefaced "Slip Kid," a very cool number that the faithful relish in hearing, by saying, "This one gets a lot of requests … I don't know why." Before performing "A Quick One (While He's Away)," he jokingly commented, "It's 10 minutes long … so I think you should sit down and have a little rest."
The crowd greeted the extended number respectfully & dutifully followed the instruction. The crowd was otherwise on its feet for most of the show and especially during such familiar classics as "I Can See for Miles," "Behind Blue Eyes," "Who Are You" and "The Kids are Alright."
The evening ended in classic The Who rocks the house fashion with a combination of the awesome Tommy medley and two huge numbers from Who’s Next – from “Amazing Journey” through “Pinball Wizard”, “Underture” and “See me Feel Me” - including the classic Townshend birdman moment with his arms spread wide, hands off the guitar, lights blaring and sounds so amazing being created…the crowd went crazy…and from there into “Baba O’Riley” and “Won’t Get Fooled Again”
Pete demonstrated that he hasn't lost a step in his playing, delivering his trademark power chords and eliciting an ever-varied palette of sounds from his array of electric and acoustic guitars. Pino Palladino and Zak Starkey prove again and again that they more than live up to their predecessors; John Entwistle and Keith Moon, with Zak providing a colorful anchor to the rhythm section and Pino filling in beautifully with big bass sounds.
I still miss John & Keith…but I’ve come to accept that the organized chaos of what that band created, was never really meant to last – The Who of the late 60’s & 70’s were a candle that burned bright and fast – a powerful lightning in a bottle that was just not meant to be contained nor meant to endure. Those moments live on in memory and on film…a very cool display of those moments appear throughout the show on the giant video screen behind the band.
In Brooklyn, Roger was also in fine form, his range has changed, more than ever before he seems to be struggling to hit his high notes. His voice has inevitably darkened, something he seemed to acknowledge by concluding "Love, Reign O'er Me" with a dark, rumbling bass. Roger pushed through and delivered his thundering scream in "Won't Get Fooled Again" with full force. I am at this point more concerned than ever he might shred his vocal cords.
He seemed to acknowledge this at the show's end, declaring that the massive tour was "uncharted territory" for the band at this point – he shared what seemed obvious "As a singer, it's getting tougher every day."
If this is indeed The Who's last major tour, I will be most satisfied. Both of my children have been able to share my love of The Who and again on this tour I have been able to share my love of The Who with numerous friends and associates. This is one fine show and The Who are one class act.
Review by Pat Stanton
The show last night was wonderful. Pete was extra chatty and on fire and Roger sounded wonderful. After Love Reign Roger did seem a bit drained and said he was knackered as he left the stage. Slip Kid was back and an outstanding rendition. Benefit for MusiCares honoring Pete tomorrow and the last spring show on Sat at Forest Hills. Roger’s lady fans were treated to a one button open shirt from Love Reign to the end of the show.