The Who in Berlin, Germany 20 June, 2023


The Who Setlist Waldbühne, Berlin, Germany 2023, The Who Hits Back!




Sparks, Acid Queen
Pinball Wizard
Who Are You
Eminence Front
The Kids Are Alright, You Better You Bet, The Seeker
You Better You Bet
Won’t Get Fooled Again
Baba O’Riley


Review by René Driesen

As Pete said when he entered the stage looking at the sky : “It’s dry!” Before and after the show there was rain so we all had luck in the beautiful open air Waldbühne.

Band and orchestra kicked off with pieces of Tommy: Overture, Amazing Journey/Sparks, Acid Queen (Pete singing), Pinball Wizard, We’re Not Gonna Take It / See Me Feel Me.

The only 20! years-old Bouke van Gelderen standing beside me on front row had tears in his eyes when the first part of Overture was playing. It was his first Who concert live and we all hope not the last because when you have new fans of only 20 years old means that there is still future for The Who.

Most of the musicians of the orchestra came from Berlin and they did very well. For me it took some time to get used to the combination of orchestra and band. To be honest: I prefer the part in the concert with just the band playing old songs like Who are you, WGFA (with scream!), the Kids Are Alright, Substitute, Tattoo, the Seeker.

Roger’s voice was in good shape and Pete was in a good mood apologizing that it took so long since the band returned to Berlin.

After the band-part the orchestra returned with pieces of Quadrophenia like Real Me, 5.15, Love R . O. Me. The best song of the evening for me was The Rock with the brothers Townshend on guitar. The concert finished with Baba including an outstanding solo of the violist.

Zak and the other band members where playing very well though I couldn’t see them well because of the high podium and me being 1.74 meter tall.

Good to meet the other Whofans again like, Melissa Hurley, Gary, Alan and of course the so called Dutch Mob. A party itself. Long Live Rock!


Review by Melissa and Gary Hurley

What a brilliant gig. The venue not so much. Before the gig we had to go soldier down 146 steps to our front row seats. We had to stop so many times, it was hard to catch our breath. The stage was at least 12 foot high and our view was restricted to just Pete, Roger, Simon, Katie and Keith Levinson. No Zak, Billy, Jon, no Loren!

As for the show, wow, wow, wow! Pete was windmilling all night. Roger’s voice was strong. The set opened with Tommy, WHO R U, Eminence Front, Pete was wailing on the guitar. Probably the best ever version in a long time. No Ball and Chain which has been so-so at the two prior gigs.

THE WHO set was on fire. Several mistakes with vocals and chords and that just adds more fuel on the flame! Pete told the audience that we are allies, friends etc. He said he was happy being in this wonderful city of Berlin. Tattoo was soothing to our ears, substitute was getting stronger and the crowd was singing away! WGFA, acoustic BBE was just stunning.

The Quad set and ending with Baba. The crowd went mental.

The show was in complete daylight all night! Very strange! Show started at 7:30 and ended 9:45.

P.S: Pete put black pickups from a Gibson on his Fender.


Review by Lauren J. Hammer

The concert tickets INCLUDED mass transit to and from the venue.  I thought that was both clever and very cool.  The venue, Waldbuhne was about 40 minutes away.  For us, it was the U-bahn (underground) to the S-bahn (overground), followed by a rather substantial walk, but unlike Barcelona, there were no significant grades. 

I observed the weirdest damn thing on the way over there.  German Who fans didn’t talk to one another - or to us.  Anywhere else I’ve ever been, meeting other Who fans on the way to a show via mass transit has always been a social, connective experience.  Hell, that’s how I scored my first truly up front (2nd row center) ticket - on my way to Oakland in 1989.  Not so in Germany.  It was the least social, least interactive group of Who fans that I think I have ever encountered, with the possible exception of Japan.  I talked to several American friends after, and they had made the same observation.  The significant exception was after the show, on the way back to city centre, where we had a GREAT connection with a sweet young man, Alex, who had solid Enligh, and who had been totally blown away by his first Who show.  I just love seeing that spark of joy in new Who fans.

Anyway… the venue was a German version of an outdoor Ampitheater.  Bit of a different shape than the standard U.S. shed.  More of a semi-circle shape than a fan shape.  It had a nice feel to it, and was surrounded by trees. 

Sounds great in theory, and it WAS lovely on the surface.  HOWEVER, the stage setup was VERY HIGH and VERY FAR AWAY.  It was like being at the Desert.  Exactly the kind of show - festivals and stadiums, that I usually skip, for that very reason.  The band had to be at least three times further away than the usual arena setup, with Scott (video guy) and monitors blocking significant chunks of our sightlines.  That part SUCKED.

It was a very casual fan audience.  Not many people knew the words to the songs, but there were a few genuine fans mixed in.  On the plus side, traveling fans had pretty much all of the front row, from Roger, through well outside of Pete. 

The show got off to a bit of a rough start.  Not poor, but it was definitely one of the weaker Tommy sets I’ve seen.  Not bad.  Just a bit ragged.  Not quite hitting their groove.  However, we got a great surprise during the Tommy set, and that was ACID QUEEN making its first appearance, if I’m not mistaken, since the RAH in 2017.  That was for sure a highlight, and IIRC, they dropped it in after AJ/Sparks and before Pinball.

Speaking of Pinball, I really am not keen on the musical coda that ends the song.  I think it detracts from the momentum and doesn’t really add anything.  Not a hill to die on, as they say, but that’s my 2¢. 

I had a super fun moment in Listening to You, when Roger gifted me with the final “and you,” and best of all, my friend Terry captured it on (digital) film!

They started to really hit their groove with Who Are You, and the show was solidly on track from there on out, morphing into a really excellent show, overall - AND, there were more setlist surprises to come.  No Ball and Chain.  Seems we essentially got Acid Queen in its place.  While my first choice would be to hear one of my top tier songs from WHO or for them to bring back Imagine a Man, I was damn happy with the trade.  I’d pick Acid Queen over B&C (Guantanamo) 100% of the time.

As they set up for the band set, I could just feel that they were going to do SOMETHING.  I didn’t know what, but I had the feeling that it was gonna be SOMETHING.  I told Eddie I thought we were gonna hear Tattoo.  Not quite, but they did open the set with Kids. 

Kids is not exactly a rarity, but it’s one we haven’t heard in a little while.  And it’s a song that I’ve always been partial to.  This was the shorter, punchier version.  I kind of like the longer, “adult,” spoken word interludes version, but no complaints.  Then a few songs later, they DID play Tattoo.  However, those two adds were at the expense of I Can See for Miles and Another Tricky Day .  Personally, I consider the swaps to be a lateral move.  Not a win (like Acid Queen in place of B&C), nor a loss.  Nice to have some variety, but personally, I love Tricky Day, and I would hate to see it dropped (although I sure do wish Pete would do more vocals on it).  Hopefully, they’ll keep rotating tracks throughout the UK tour.

During YBYB, I had gone over to hang out with Melissa and Gary.  And after YBYB, Pete took off the damn jacket!  You knew that from that moment on, life was gonna get better!

Then during the Seeker, there was this guy walking across the front row (with the high stage, there was space in front of us), shooting video.  Unlike the nightmare of Barcelona security, while Waldbune security had a bit of German abruptness in their communication style, they were actually pretty chill.  As long as people kept moving, they left them alone.  And honestly, as long as people keep moving, I don’t mind too much, as I “get” how cool it is to check out the show from FRC.  Anyway, this guy was coming through.  He stopped right in front of me to take a few pictures.  I read his vibe as friendly, no intention of being an asshole, so while it’s a song I wouldn’t usually give up the rail for, I grabbed him and put him in my FRC spot for a few minutes, slipping back off to the side with M&G.  Sharing the magic.

Oh, also during the Seeker, early in the song, Pete hit this really “off” chord, and Roger and I had a moment.  Always fun when we’re on the same wavelength.

At another time, Pete was doing a bit of Pete rambling, during which Roger and I were joking “off camera,” including some errrr, lewd gestures, while Pete went on, as he sometimes does.

I can’t remember if it was then, or a different interlude, where Pete was expressing appreciation for the Germans, acknowledging the differences, while appreciating the alliance.  Along the way, he referenced the different political viewpoints of England and Germany, using the opportunity to comment upon the fact of differing political viewpoints within their own band. 

This was the first show in Germany since Oberhausen and Stuttgart in 2016, and the first in the Berlin area since the Endless Wire tour in 2006 or 2007.

Let’s see, what else…

I really enjoyed the orchestra tonight.  I’m not sure if the orchestra itself was a cut above, or if it was a function of a superior sound mix.  Either way, I heard them, and I enjoyed them.

The Quad set was really strong, as it pretty much always is. I’m One was particularly strong tonight.  It felt like Pete was feeling it and reflecting into it, from an adult perspective, more than usual.   I hated them playing 5.15, as I always do.  I could almost tolerate it in exchange for the John solo on the big screen, but absent that, I continue to consider it a travesty.  That said, Pete did so something different / interesting.  Near the end of the song, he did a quiet little guitar interlude.  That was kind of neat.  No claps from Pete during The Rock (which I’m told were back in Firenze), but Billy did it, as did I.  Unlike Barcelona, where the video screens were in an unusually good location for me to be able to see them, in Berlin, it was just the opposite.  I had obstructed view visibility from my location.  But even so, I know when to look over for what are my highlights - Pete shaking the guitar at Woodstock, the Keith tribute, 9-11, and the John tribute.  Unlike Barcelona, there were far fewer cheers for Keith, far fewer cheers for John, and far fewer boos for Trump.  I guess that's consistent with my general experiences and observations of both Spaniards/Catalanians and Germans, over the past 10 days.

At the end, during Baba, Roger didn’t do his shooting up thing (nor did he do his sometimes smoking thing).  If you’re reading, Pat, I was thinking of you.

All in all, other than the high stage, a beautiful venue, an excellent show, and a lovely, lovely night.

Also, kudos to the Waldbune security staff, who were pretty easy going about people exiting after the show - in stark contrast to Barcelona.

Oh, and one last thing.  While we were able to get hard stock, printed tickets, they were pretty standard style (albeit oversized, to an American) tickets.  I spotted other people with really cool looking tickets - black, with The Who Hits Back graphic on them.  I scoured the floor / empty rows, after the show.  Nothing.  German fans (to their credit), left little trash behind, sadly, including ticket stubs.  However, we started chatting with a few guys, and one of them very graciously let me have one.  It’s not in the condition I try to keep my tickets, but still, I’m glad to have gotten one!

Also, just FYI, there was a Berlin specific, limited run (150) poster.