Soundcheck review by Horace Austin
125-150 fans at VIP Soundcheck. Lasted 45 minutes.
AEG Europe staff said nothing about photography or filming.
All of the band were present. The Two were in a good mood.
"Join Together" - played before we were allowed in.
"I Can See for Miles"
"Who Are You"
"Baba O'Riley" - some futzing around with the synth part.
"Won't Get Fooled Again" - worked on the "click."
"Love Reign O'er Me" - worked on the beginning.
"Young Man Blues"
Pete bantered about being on The Old Grey Whistle Test and how bad it was. He had no space to move. But, he said the band Free was good.
Review by Dante DiCarlo
The time had finally come for The Who to kick off their tour in Glasgow, and since the last non Quadrophenia tour had been the short Australian one in 2009, there was a big question mark about what they would play. Roger and Pete had said they would be reaching a little deeper than they had in the past, but whether this would turn out to be true was another matter. We did know from the Abu Dhabi gig that I Can See For Miles was possibly back in the set, a hit for the Who but one rarely played live, but what else might feature?
After The Standard Lamps played a very good set (top band) I waited with baited breath as the Who came on and with no surprises launched into the opening chord stabs of I Can't Explain. From where I was sitting the sound was a bit too quiet (you could easily talk over the band) and the guitar was a bit too clean, was this to be a disappointment?
Substitute was next, if I recall correctly the band played the full length recorded version with 3rd verse at the end instead of just ending with the chorus after the instrumental break. The band have no doubt slowed down from even 5 years ago. Pete is no longer leaping around the stage, though he still windmills like a madman.
It's easy to forget Roger and Pete are 69 and 70, and all of a sudden the mid to late 50s they were in when they were ripping it up in the 2000s, seems rather young. They can still put on a show though and I was impressed with Roger's voice. The first highlight for me was about three songs in when I Can See For Miles was dusted off again and it made me wonder why they so rarely played it as it sounded great, Zak playing the song perfectly and giving it the feel that I don't find any other post Keith drummers managed.
The band followed this with Who Are You but then things really entered Who heaven as we were treated to a four song selection that left me wondering if I was in fact dreaming. First up Long Live Rock. Though Pete seemed confused about what parts he should be singing, and there was more than an air of the group winging it, it was a fun lively performance with Pete growling his way through the vocals, forgetting the “Someone takes his pants off and the rafters knock” line, which is amusing since he sang it twice at the Old Grey Whistle Test version.
As if this wasn't good enough, up next Pete tells us that we might not know this if we don't have the early albums but the next song was made famous on the Stones Rock n Roll Circus. I can't believe what I'm hearing. Having often played safe setlists, the Who are playing A Quick One While He's Away for the first time in 44 years. Just what is going on here?? They even play the extra verse in the Ivor The Engine Driver section that was rarely done live.
Not content to let this be the end of the surprises, up next is Slipkid, that song the fans demand and that the band constantly refuse to play, and haven't ever played bar about 5 performances in 1976 and a ramshackle Pete and Roger only version in 2008 (I had the pleasure of being there that night too) Again, you have to ask why they were so reluctant to play it, as the song sounds very good especially for a first performance with the band. After this we get Join Together which has rarely been played in the last few decades. Stunning.
The rest of the set sees Cry If You Want, Eminence Front, Magic Bus, Squeeze Box and others. A recurring theme of the night is Roger looking confused on words but the band going with it anyway. A small Quadrophenia section gives us the chance to glimpse John and Keith, though Bell Boy has to be restarted as a musical cue goes wrong and Roger complains that the sound onstage is terrible and he can't hear.
There's no forgetting the other rock opera either as we get a bit of Tommy as well. One of the top Pete moments of the night is when he introduces Zak, pointing out his Ginger hair by screaming “What colour is his fucking hair?!” Zak takes it in good humour.
Won't Get Fooled Again and an encore of Naked Eye rounds off the set. A mighty 2 and a half hours and they didn't even play one of their biggest hits. Not only are the Who now dragging out some deeper cuts, they're not even bothering to play My Generation. Ever the rebels, on their 50th anniversary tour where you might expect a safe greatest hits, the Who are pulling out their riskiest sets in quite some time. What comes next? Who knows? For once I just don't know what to expect, but if it's anything like the first night, I will be loving every show I attend and regretting every one I'm not at.
Review by Simon Nicholl
It was great to walk in to the hydro with no search which meant no camera drama and after getting an ale I hear someone call my name out and it's only Jayne (the much better-half of Alec) who are Moon-era fans and who I see purely by chance at every Who show, hah-hah! Nice to catch-up, and the same applies to Gordon and his son. Between the two of us, I think we had this show covered, media-wise! I was also lucky to have two seats free beside me: room to roam is a luxury ! On the other side was a lady of senior years who last saw the band in 1969. We agreed that it was a different proposition nowadays. Masters of understatement...
Right from the start Dalts was on point: to paraphrase the band's own movie 'The Kids Are Alright', the singer wants everything to be a big laugh and when it isn't he gets terribly upset. Why mention this? Well, he was a tad distracted, if not annoyed by PT missing a couple of cues although this was cause for merriment during the rarely aired 'Long Live Rock'. I absolutely sang my nuts off to that one, hah-hah! Mind you, PT got the lyrics wrong back in 1973 on The Whistle Test, so he has previous...
The wheels came off momentarily during '5.15' I think (feel free to correct me, anyone)...I think Pete missed a cue which threw Rog and I could hear him shout to Zak, "I don't know where the f**K I am!". I was savvy enough to realise that now was not the time to shout "The SSE Hydro, you cockney tw*t!" by way of reply, ahem. You would have thought that an old ham like Rog would bluff his way through this but the real reason for his outburst was that "...the sound up is f**king terrible...I can't hear anything...Simon, sort it out!". No, not my fault this time but I don't think that Rog calling-out a tech would endear his to the crew: it did make me wonder what the point of their sound-check was, aside from parting some of their well-heeled fans from a ton a cash...
There you have the difference onstage between the pair: Rog's banter is sometimes a bit forced whereas all Pete has to do is pull a face or insult the audience thus: "We were in Abu Dhabi playing at the Grand Prix which was nice, but to be honest you get a better class of thug in Glasgow!".
He still loves winding Rog up, for example counting him in sarcastically and then saying that it's ok for him (PT) to get cues wrong because they are his songs: immediately he softens this by half-jokingly offering "...which you then make your own!". Rog did laugh to be fair- he has to. Another false start on another tune was because Pete strummed the opening chord (forget which number) and then stopped, announcing that it would sound better with an in-tune guitar! A tech rushed on with another flawless red Strat only for Pete to tell him that he needed a capo on the third fret. The tech corrected him, and PT agreed and blamed his iPad that he has perched on his mic stand for feeding him wrong gen, hah-hah! It's not so much what he says, but the way he tells them, right?
Well yes and no: PT mentioned the Quad show last year and said we'd know the words for those songs and for those who weren't there, well there's a video of some "...dead people." I heard some disgruntlement around me at that comment and there is and will always be a lotta love for the departed. Speaking of the video tributes to John and Keith, Pino sat on his stool and watched The Ox's showcase intently. The only word for Pino is immaculate. Really. He's not intimidated musically by PT meandering or cuffing it sometimes. Also out on the wing was Simon Townshend who does a ton of stuff that goes unnoticed by the audience but he fills a big gap. Zak (as PT and Rog joked later during the introductions regarding what colour Zak's hair was: PT sighed, "...at least he's got some..." and said he looked like a Swan Vesta match, hah-hah!) played like he has done for yonks...challenging PT with eye contact at times and generally having a blast.
What was frustrating was that at least twice they got into 'old Who school jam' territory ('Magic Bus' and 'Naked Eye' for two) which rolled back the years genuinely only to have Pete curtail it. Ffs let the brakes off you big-nosed weapon! And you played 'Naked Eye' about 10% too slow. Apart from that, you did alright!
That aside some of the playing was brilliant at times even during warhorse stuff like 'WGFA' which I don't usually relish. Last night though I could see how into it PT was and how he drives the shebang: that's the stuff that stays with me. The sheer joy at hearing the band finally ring the changes re the setlist was palpable: I don't know if Frank Simes deserves a large drink for this but please, please don't let last night's mistakes put you off, guys. It is difficult to overtate how vital it was to hear numbers like 'I Can See For Miles', 'Long Live Rock', 'Cry If You Want', 'Join Together', 'Squeeze Box' and the wee opera 'A Quick One' amongst others. Oh, who could forget 'Slip Kid'? Well, this band for starters, hah-hah!
I don't know how much heavy lifting is done by the backline of Corey, Gold and Simes but they certainly filled the sound out...anymore and we'll heading back to 1989!