We're Not Gonna Take It
Who Are You
You Better You Bet
Won't Get Fooled Again
Won't Get Fooled Again
Behind Blue Eyes
The Real Me
Love Reign O'er Me
Love Reign O'er Me
Love Reign O'er Me
Video control room
Review by Mark Fintz
Last night in Bethel Woods, The Who finished the first leg of the tour at the old Woodstock site. There was no mud baths or Abby Hoffman, just this amazing band blew the roof off the venue. I was in Boston last week where they were very, very good. Yesterday was a few levels higher.
Kinda knew it was going to be a special night when I ran into old friend Steve Mirek, another Who fanatic and his wife at the VIP lounge in the outdoor dining area. Decent cheeseburger, no napkins, wasn’t easy keeping the white T-shirt I hustled from the local radio station booth.
Show kicked off with Overture and you can feel the intensity level was up. Maybe it was the venue, maybe it was cause it was the last show of the leg, but they were clearly on fire.
Both Roger and Pete were at the top of their game. Pete’s guitar was noticeably louder and he played like a man on a mission. Captured the moment where Pete slides the guitar against his Mike stand during AJ. Jon Buttons bass during Baba was loud and had plenty of depth.
Then there was Roger whose voice was powerful, strong, clear and concise. There have been past tours where Roger has had some voice struggles. Not last night, don’t know where he conjured up his vocal resurrection, but it was f’ing amazing. WGFA, Relay, Amazing Journey, Sparks all fantastic, the other songs were all great. Zak as always laying down the thundering beat was tremendous, loved the interaction between he and Pete. They are both literally connected mentally.
BBE moment early on with Pete complaining his fingers were frozen. Hey keep me warm, let me wear your coat. Pete put on a dark zipper jacket and continued on. Lyrics come to life!
During Eminence Front, Pete got lost and seemed to forget the words. Zak and Jon were trying their best to get him back online. Eventually, Pete reconnected and finished the song very strong.
The show climaxed with a very strong Love Reign O’er Me into Baba. Exhilarating performance, emotionally drained. Can’t wait for October. From tree to tree, from you to me, here’s Relay.
Review by Stephen Voyce
The Who Return to Woodstock
Sunday, August 17, 1969, 5am. Bethel, NY. The Who take the stage at Woodstock festival and play a legendary set that catapults them into the rockstar stratosphere. The performance is captured in the Woodstock documentary film and becomes a generational touchstone. Despite the success of their performance at Woodstock, both Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend have explained that the Woodstock experience was not a great time for them. (Listen to what Roger had to say about it in 1978.)
Pete and Roger have performed solo shows in the area, but they have not been “back to the garden” as The Who since that fateful morning 53 years ago. As the capacity crowd of 16,000 ventured along the stone walkway to the concert pavilion, overlooking the historic field and site of the original Woodstock stage, that was about to change…
Saturday, May 28, 2022, 830pm (ish). The Who take the stage at Bethel Woods and play an incendiary set that cements their place in the upper echelons of rock royalty. The band rip into a 21-song set that had the entire audience on their feet for the 2+ hour show. (I suspect the 1969 crowd was not all standing!) As this was the final show for this leg of the “WHO Hits Back Tour,” you all know the setlist.
As per their prior engagement at Bethel, the band played selections from Tommy. This time, however, they were accompanied by an orchestra of local/regional musicians. The band and orchestra are now in synch and the orchestra adds depth to Townshend’s music, particularly for the instrumental sections, “Overture” and “Sparks”. “Pinball Wizard” is always a highlight. Roger has limbered up as the tour has progressed and is back doing his crouch before and now, toward the end of the song. My friends and I joke that seeing Pete play the iconic guitar intro is like to watching John Hancock sign his name-he did not disappoint .
I do not wish to overstate it but hearing the refrain from We’re Not Gonna take It/See Me Feel Me, “Listening to you, I get the music. Gazing at you, I get the heat…” at this famous location, is a spiritual experience.
Several other hits were played with the orchestra including an aggressive “Who Are You” and robust “Join Together” complete with audience participation during the chorus. The orchestra departed and the core band stretched out on five tunes. During this portion of the set, Pete, who had mentioned it was “cold” (he may have added a few adjectives), donned a black jacket and crashed his way into the opening chord of “Won’t Get Fooled Again.” I am aware that there is “probably” some amplification of the scream that closes the song, but I still get chills. Violin and Cello return for a contemplative take on “Behind Blue Eyes” to close this part of the show.
The orchestra returns and the Quadrophenia portion of the show fires up. I recognize I am wildly biased as Quad is my all-time favorite album, but these songs take the show to a musical/emotional level unrivaled in my concert experience. The orchestra adds lushness and harmonics to the music and Daltrey’s more mature, yet aggressive, angst-filled vocals retain and augment the original studio versions of the songs. “The Real Me” rocks out and “5:15” retains its power and allows Pete some improvisation on the guitar- in places the Ox would do some of his amazing bass soloing. “I’m One” was riveting. Pete, bathed in azure light, gave an inspired, emotive performance of the quintessential song of adolescent insecurity---but after listening to the song for nearly 50 years, I wonder, is it only relevant to adolescence?
I must comment on band members, Simon Townshend on guitar and Zak Starkey on drums. They were remarkable throughout the show and really displayed their respective talents during “The Rock” instrumental. Loren Gold once again gave a deeply moving keyboard intro to “Love Reign O’er Me” and Roger delivered the vocals with passion. Ab-So-Lute-Ly remarkable. A rousing Baba O’Riley concluded the set with Katie Jacoby taking center stage and “stealing” the limelight from Roger and Pete, if only for a few moments. Her violin takes the song to another level and has been a bright spot of every show.
This isn’t 1969.
There was no guitar smashing.
No morning sunrise to accompany the opening lyrics to “See Me, Feel Me”.
No Abbie Hoffman meet Pete’s guitar-like incident.
No lack of food, water, or facilities.
Yes, there was a sound glitch in the speaker volume for the lawn patrons.
Yes, traffic exiting the grounds was slow.
Yes, it did rain earlier in the day
But, the venue is a spectacular location to see a show
And Most Definitely, Yes, The WHO returned to the fields of Woodstock and proved worthy of the legacy they established here long ago.
“Listening to you I get the music
Gazing at you I get the heat
Following you I climb the mountain
I get excitement at your feet”
Remains as true today as in 1969…
Thank you to the WHO