Review by Tim Ballou
“Man Boobs, Masturbation, and Where to Put Your Pot.” If this had been a 1970s-era show, that would be my bootleg title. (But no need to buy bootlegs anymore! Go to the official who.com store and purchase soundboard downloads for $10.) This 2nd Southern California area 2016 show was a few notches higher in energy level than Anaheim where I sensed there was a little “phoning in” going on. Maybe the band delivered a little more oomph at Staples because they were in the presence of industry peers like Steve Lukather of Toto fame. (Sitting in row 11, mid-section/floor. Behind me. Yes, I said “behind” me. And I’m no industry peer.)
Or maybe they brought out the gusto because, who knew, it was parent night? Saw one of those proud daddy’s, cell phone raised, capturing video for a Tweet. Ringo Starr in the flesh, really enjoying the chip off the old drummer. Oh, and he was also sitting in row 11, floor, next to Lukather. (In case I didn’t mention it, or I did and you didn’t retain it – I was in row 10, which is closer than 11. And I’m no Beatle.)
“Pictures of Lily” made the set list and was a great highlight with some entertaining intro banter from Roger and Pete who felt compelled to explain that it was about either masturbation or the relationship between a father and son. Or maybe both? While setting up “Squeeze Box”, Pete said it was another sociologically themed song but this time about breasts. He bragged about his own man boobs. When there is something men can’t have, he said we create our own. (I always learn new and interesting things at Who concerts.)
Deep into the show, a cloud surfaced on the floor. It was a pungent weed storm that triggered a mini-tirade from Roger. He went off on the smokers, asking them, as he has done at many shows past, to eat their pot, not smoke it, due to his allergy. Pete closed the discussion by suggesting they shove it up their ass. This was a brief hiccup that did include Roger struggling a bit with his voice, but did not prevent an outstanding “Love Reign O’er Me.”
It was an outstanding evening, luckily spent in prime concert real estate (did I mention I was in row 10, pretty much dead center?), catching up with old friends, celebrating survival and relevance, all under one roof with thousands of strangers doing the very same thing.
Review by Pat Stanton
The show last night at The Staples Center was one of the better shows on the 2016 tour, with lots of stars in attendance both in the audience and backstage. Pete mentioned that Ringo was there during Zak's intro at the end.
The set list included all the recent swing songs so Lily, Squeeze Box and 5:15 were all performed plus lots of chatting so the show bumped very close to the 11 curfew. Roger, ever mindful of the time, motioned to Pete to speed up the intros to finish on time. Even so Pete again thanked Pino profusely for "saving their bacon" starting at that arena in 2002 when John died, remembering that they had run into George Clooney back then, who wished Pino luck.
Pete told us that even though this is allegedly a "hits" show they only had about 4 real hits in America and the most popular album was Who's Next which the radio stations played most frequently.
Roger was really bothered by the smoke last night. He was not pleased with his Love Reign rendition, grimacing and motioning smoke after it, even though I thought it was powerful and beautiful. Immediately after it he came to the front of the stage and asked people in the front to stop smoking marijuana, noting there is a sign posted before the show that he is allergic and wished people would learn how to read. Pete added to just stick it up your ass as it works faster. Roger told the audience that he didn't know how much longer he could go on if they didn't stop as he was feeling asthmatic.
The show did continue and he got through it but his voice was affected for the remainder of the show.
Intros of some of the songs had lots of funny banter and chatting. Roger told us that even though Lily was a song about masturbation they successfully hid that from the BBC and got air time. Pete added after the song that it wasn't just about masturbation but is a sociological statement about a father and son but we probably don't get that - saying that with a serious face before laughing.
The Squeeze Box intro was very funny as Pete described the song about a woman with big breasts and then went into his observation that men over 50 often seem to grow their own breasts so they can enjoy and touch then anytime they want.
The Kids Are Alright intro was long and priceless. Roger was having problems with his ear pieces so they started to replace the entire set including the battery pack he wears on his waist while Pete started the intro. Roger frequently mugs while this is happening as the wires seem to go down his backside. Pete turned to him to tell his van story with Roger laughingly saying he didn't hear him as someone was playing with his ass and it was the most fun that he had so far on the tour. Pete added a whole bit about that topic saying you may wait for years to get it and are then disappointed. It was much funnier the way they said all this on stage but I am editing out lots of the innuendos but you can use your imagination. Roger then launched into his van story.
Before Miles Pete talked about the Monterey Festival again saying it was a coming together of two musical camps - The Grateful Dead and the Mammas and the Papas. There was also some fond recollections of Jimi, with Pete noting that he was on their label before he hit it fun in America.
There was again a comment at the beginning of the Quad set that maybe they will come back some day and do the whole thing again, with Pete again thanking Roger for mounting the 2012/2013 version.
As is obvious from my comments, Pete was in very high spirits all night. I caught one shot with him flexing his muscles which he did all night. After his Baba leap he even extended his leg up to the microphone which got huge cheers from the fans.
Roger sounded strong in the beginning but as I previously mentioned the smoke took its toll during the second half. He still gave a wonderful performance and maximized the audience participation, leading and coaching is to sing loudly.
Next show is on Friday with this leg of the public tour officially ending in Vegas on Sunday. There will be a TCA benefit in LA next Tuesday to close it out.