Who Are You
The Seeker / The Kids Are Alright
I Can See for Miles
My Generation / Pictures of Lily
Behind Blue Eyes / Bargain
You Better You Bet
Love, Reign O’er Me / Eminence Front
Review by Pat Stanton
The concert last night in Toronto was very entertaining and energetic. It was Roger's 72nd birthday and there were multiple attempts by fans to sing happy birthday, with Pete announcing it in the beginning. The snow storm keep some fans away but the ones who attended had a great night and they showed the band their love and appreciation. Roger sounded strong all night, actually getting more powerful as the night progressed, and was in great spirit. Pete was also very energetic and joking all night with fans. I am happy to report that Pete finally replaced the tired and ripped T-shirt that he has wore in various 2015 shows and again in Detroit with a very tasteful zippered shirt. He actually looked quite dapper. The set list is attached and was basically the same as Detroit with Lily replacing Real Me. Roger always has a good time with Lily so it is a good swap.
Review by Todd Sylvester
You can't go in without some kind of expectation, this is the Who. I am not one of those people that judges them against the 1975 Who. I listen to them as the Who of today. For the Who of today they kicked some Rock and Roll Ass. Pete is always a Rock Star with his swagger and his attitude. Rog is quiet, and unassuming and seems to emerge from back stage with a cape on. Let's Face it, if there is no voice, no show. So we all wait to hear Rog and he is in fine shape. Pete is relaxed and cool. The band is very tight.
We start with Who Are You and from the hop Rog is a go, Pete is windmilling, and the night is off to a very good start. Gone is a A Quick One from the set list. It to me is a well rounded list with little bits of all eras. It does touch on everything except Endless Wire.
The night is built around taking care of that voice. Some rests and the set builds nicely. LROM is really blood curdling tonight and shows that when Mr. Daltrey is on form he is brilliant, shades of his younger self. One of my favorited quotes from Rog is about Rock and Roll and that is not perfection. That it is about a "Bum Note and a Bead of Sweat" and that means passion. You could never ever say the band as a whole lack passion. Pete is up there in fine form, his guitar playing is better than ever.
We can sell the rights to the words and give the music away. Rog goes up every night and sings his guts out. He took care of his voice and he can still sail. It's incredbile.See this band while you can. You won't be dissapointed. Bring your kids, bring a friend for a good night of Rock and Roll.
Long Live Rock
Review by David Wilson
Review from the Front of the House
This day seemed to be a long time coming…well actually it was. I bought my tickets 18 months ago. But after two postponements and Roger’s serious health issues, here we were waiting to access the sound check 3 hours before show time - packaged into the VIP program (along with the obligatory mortgage payment application).
I’ve had the chance to sit in on Who sound checks three times so far. It is one of the most interesting parts of the concert experience, at least for me. Everything has been set up, plugged in, and tuned before we (the audience) get in. However, considering that they’ve just moved in from another city there’s usually a bit of chaos with technicians scurrying around, things not working properly…and musicians who simply want things to work getting frustrated when things don’t. I suppose that’s what we are paying for…to witness the unexpected. For example, during the Quad tour sound check Pete and Roger got into a pretty heated discussion (at least to me as an observer) about how a song should be played...Behind Blue Eyes. You’re kidding, right? I mean they must have played that song a 1,000 times by now. The issue? Pete was complaining that the rest of the group were playing BBE “Roger’s way”. He actually had a point…Roger, Simon, Frank Simes, and Loren Gold (half of the current band) had all played the song a bit differently on Roger’s 2011 Tommy tour. Pete just wanted to play and sing it like the Who had done for decades. No punches thrown or smashed guitars though!
Today’s sound check commenced with a partial run through of Who Are You. I can’t sugar-coat this…Pete looked grumpy right from the get go, especially in contrast to Roger, beaming as ever. They got to Pete’s jazz solo part when things broke down. Pete was playing his red Eric Clapton Strat (#4) but did not like the sound and indicated that the neck seemed warped. Guitar change. Didn’t like the sound of the black guitar either. Guitar change. Couldn’t find solace with the gold Strat. Next to the White one. Nope. Tried a different red one. Finally back to the first one. Alan Rogan (Pete’s guitar tech) probably lost 5 lbs walking back and forth with guitars!
Okay, with that settled, they launched into a very spirited full version of I Can See for Miles. This sounds great all the way through, although Roger’s voice seemed lost in the mix a few times as adjustments were made on the soundboard. They finally got it right. Pete then led a run through a complete version of I’m One, presumably to give Roger’s voice a break. Eminence Front followed, a partial workout, before Pete stopped it. He then wanted to work on a problem they’d apparently been having with a transition about halfway through The Rock. Three tries before they got things ironed out. Pete had the “Roger Turns 72” graphic put up when he was explaining that Roger was older than he was! We sang Happy Birthday but Roger seemed a little indifferent to our vocal chops. Perhaps he was fast-forwarding to having to sing My Generation!
The show was great! Perhaps a little shorter than I’m used to (about 1h 50m) but given that Roger was in the hospital for a month only a few months ago, I’ll still take it.
The set list was exactly the same as they’d performed at Wembley for the warm-up in mid-February and only one song different from Detroit on the weekend (Pictures of Lily instead of The Real Me played in Detroit).
All the most popular numbers were there:
Who Are You, The Seeker, The Kids Are Alright, I Can See For Miles, My Generation, Pictures Of Lily, Behind Blue Eyes, Bargain, Join Together, You Better You Bet, I'm One, The Rock, Love Reign O'er Me, Eminence Front, Amazing Journey, Sparks, Pinball Wizard, See Me Feel Me, Baba O'Riley, Won't Get Fooled Again.
Who tour set lists are pretty rigid these days and might vary slightly (a song or two) from time to time. But if you check out the set list from the show before, you’re pretty much guaranteed to know what’s coming next with a high degree of certainty. However, as a die-hard Who fan, I’m always hoping for something really unique, but I also recognize that they’re trying to appease the 15,000 other concert goers who want to hear the most familiar stuff (aka the “CSI songs” – BTW, I just cringe at that phrase!). The extensive multi-media tie-ins programmed to accompany the songs can’t presumably be changed on the spot these days, and this further limits the possible variance from show to show. The unpredictably of a Who show is less about the songs selected and more about how the songs are performed, including the famous Townshend noodling and surprise codas at the end of certain songs (or sometimes even in the middle of them). That said, it was great to hear I Can See for Miles, which is a longtime personal favourite, and even Pictures of Lily (though I’d trade it in for The Real Me in a heartbeat, as the latter is one of my top 5). They had specifically inserted and/or resequenced a couple songs to give Roger’s voice a break. That’s why I’m One, which Pete sings, and The Rock, an instrumental, are scheduled just before Love Reign O’er Me, and Eminence Front is positioned just before the Tommy highlights cycle.
Roger was remarkably thinner than he’s been for…ever…, presumably from the meningitis, hospital stay, etc. He looks about 15 pounds lighter, almost too thin. So I was expecting that he might struggle with the pace and intensity of a standard (high-intensity) Who show, especially after a Detroit show review suggested that he was a bit off at times. I’ll admit right now, my concerns were for naught. Three words: Roger was fantastic. He hit all of the key notes and did not venture too much into the melodic variations that he’s sometimes had to employ in the past when struggling with certain songs. An absolutely solid performance…and Tuesday was his 72nd birthday to boot!
Pete was Pete. In a much lighter mood than during the sound check. He played a little less physically than I’ve seen him in the past, concentrating more on the sound than the antics, and sounded great. He spent way more time playing - it’s hard to believe but I think he’s gotten even better - and much less time screwing around yanking on the damn whammy bar (which in my opinion detracts from the classic Pete sound and his rhythmic creativity). It was great to see him switch so readily from his usual rhythmic leadership and anthemic power chords (best right hand in rock!) to some virtuoso solo figuring and back. No one else in rock can transition this so well!
The rest of the band, same band as for the Quad tour, was predictably tight and spot on. It was neat to hear Pino take the solo lead-in for Baba O’Riley, like John used to do (before keyboard players outnumbered original Who members on stage!) instead of the tendency for piano to open up the song.
They opened with Who Are You, just as they’ve been doing since the Glastonbury show in June. No changing guitars this time. A solid gritty and aggressive performance with Roger spot on with the lead vocals and good support on the backing vocals from Pete and the rest. No break and straight into The Seeker. Then we tripped back to the mid 1960s with Kids, Miles, My Generation, and Lily. All were pretty slick versions; sadly no extended improvisation at the end of My Generation – a bit of modulation and that was it. Later on, Bargain was real treat with a chunky aggressive feel during the verses and the softer multiple vocals on the refrain. Most of the thrill about seeing the Who live is how they vary away from the original recordings. While Join Together was played pretty straight, given the need to play along with the pre-recorded backing bed track (mouth harp), You Better You Bet, which also relies on a backing track, seemed punchier and more immediate – Roger throwing everything into it.
Roger then took a vocal break as Pete ran through I’m One and the band then launched into a flawless The Rock. We all anticipated Roger’s return on Love Reign O’er Me. He did not disappoint. The opening was strong, choruses stronger, and the middle eight just soared. The band matched him and Pete’s soloing was solid. The final line was delivered with an alternative melody but it really fit in well with the rest of the performance. Another guitar change for a new tuning and right into Eminence Front. I can categorically admit that this is not a favourite of mine (okay, I know this isn’t shared by most, especially by General Motors!). However, Pete was really working hard to wring out fantastic lead runs as Simon, and to a lesser extent Roger, laid the rhythm parts.
The last two parts of the concert repositioned the recent encore of Tommy songs just ahead of the closers – the most anticipated songs, Baba O’Riley and Won’t Get Fooled Again. Again, the Tommy song cycle worked as predicted to build up the energy of the crowd, as it always does. A relatively straightforward presentation with perhaps a little bit of noodling at the transition between Amazing Journey and Sparks. The crowd was in full sing-song mode by the time that they got to See Me Feel Me.
The opening strains of the Baba organ/synth sequence always send crowds into a tizzy and predictably, “the crowd went crazy.” As noted, Pino came in on his own much like John used to do. A respectful reading of past practice. Roger turned the mike over to the audience for the Teenage Wasteland line…he thought we were a bit flat! The harmonica outro was great to hear.
Strangely, I’m always sad when I hear the three beat drum lead-in for Won’t Get Fooled Again. I guess it’s because this always means we’re at the end of the show. Pete was highly energized and always turns up the amp a touch early in this song…shades of things to come. A truly solid rendition with Roger’s voice very much as strong as when he started. We all waited for “the scream”. I was probably 6’ from him when he delivered it. It was so forceful. To be fair, not bad. A bit of a two-parter with a strong but shorter blast and a follow up. I’ll take it any day. The song ended as predicted and then I got my wish…Pete veered off into an extended coda (similar but way more focused than his 1980-ish ventures) with Roger joining him adding in some vocal overlays. Just about a minute of pure energy!
Band introductions ended with “We’re coming back to Toronto!” How do you suppose the crowd took this? Yup. The Who knew they would be welcomed back any day!