Review by Melissa and Gary Hurley
The venue was inside the famous Country Cricket ground located around 3 miles from Derby City Centre. All seats and standing where located on the flat floor Cricket pitch and a raised stand for disabled people was located at the side. The weather on the day was torrential rain all afternoon and did not stop until the time UB40 walked on stage to an almost home crowd of Birmingham fans. Even though the venue was located just under 30 miles south, the rain made this a 2 hour car ride for the punters attending the show and the band who’s hotel was located on the outskirts of the West Midlands.
Our own journey was advised by Google at just over 2 hours but ended up taking over 4 hours. Lucky for us we booked the hotel overlooking the cricket grounds and decided to stay put until 30 minutes before the Who stepped foot on stage watching the events taking place outside our hotel window.
At approximately 8.15 the band walked on stage to an overwhelming crowd who decided that Friday night was party time. Drinks flow….
Everyone in the band seemed happy and smiles all around. Pete was on a total high and very chatty.
Tommy with the orchestra. It started strange as the orchestra played a bar or two in front of The WHO. Within five minutes everyone was in sync. Pete had several guitar changes and said something to his roadie about the monitor on the floor. It was rectified pretty quickly. Amazing Journey was truly amazing. Pete was adding chords and wailing. Acid Queen was truly spectacular. Pete sang and enunciated every word very carefully. Wow! WNGTI was very warming. When Pete and Roger sing Were not gonna take it in a whisper, Pete put his finger to his lips and shushed us especially saying it to Eddie. When it was time to sing out load Pete gestured raising his hand to sing it loud. Pete had a menacing smile on his face. WRU got the crowd singing and jumping. Eminence Front, Pete owned it!
The Who without orchestra was spectacular. The energy was truly back. It felt like we had been in a Time Machine. TKRA, YBYB was a crowd pleaser and people shouted the words in unison with Roger. It was deafening, especially from the tanked up people. Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere, Substitute and I Can’t Explain was like stepping back into the 1970’s all over again. The energy level was so heightened and I think Roger and Pete forgot that they’re in they’re late 70’s. Pete even tried to jump around a bit and Roger was spot on swinging the microphone. Next up was My Generation, all started well and the crowd pogoing to the song. The bass solo by Jon Button was longer than it should of been. Pete gave Roger a strange look. Behind Blue Eyes was beautiful as the sound quality was spot on and Katy and Audrey (aka Horace) just hit the spot.
The orchestra comes back to play some tunes from Quadrophenia. The Rock gets better every night. Simon and Pete didn’t interact as much. Love Reign o’er Me, Roger’s scream was shrilling. Baba O’Riley was just beautiful. Normally the band gets introduced after LROM. After this Quad set Pete started to introduce the band and got a bit pissed off with Zak. Zak was throwing drum sticks into the crowd and being egged on by Simon. Pete said Zak is the centre of Zaks world. Pete went on to finish the introductions.
The band left the stage and Roger and Pete looked at their own watches and said Tea and Theatre had to be the short version as time was running down. It was a heart felt song, the loud mouth drunkenness ruined the mood.
Also Pete spoke on stage for the first time in living memory about English soccer (football to us British fans) and the fact that a close friend of his dad’s was a Derby County supporter when the team was bottom place in the lower tier of football rankings back in the 50s, and how they moved up to the top tier over the year’s, and also mentioned that when living in Ealing London at the same time the same thing happened to the local football team down the road “Brentford” who also made it from bottom too the top tier in recent years. Roger’s reply was to say I don’t know what he is on about I lived in Shepherds Bush!
Review by Pat Stanton
The Derby show was entertaining, and fortunately, the torential rains that occurred before 6 pm completely stopped by the time the Who took the stage at 8:15.
Incora County Grounds is where the Derbyshire Cricket team plays. It has a very festive atmosphere, with lots of food and drink vendors, although only one merchandise stand. Lots of toilets, both permanent and temporary. The grounds were surprisingly dry given all the rain.
There were 2 support acts, Isabella Coulstock at 6 pm for 30 minutes and UB40 at 7 pm for 45 minutes. Isabella was very good and UB40 were entertaining.
The stage was again very high, but unlike Edinburgh, even the front row could see the entire band.
The orchestra set list was the same as Edinburgh. The orchestra was again The Heart of England, although this time the audience didn't boo when Pete announced the name, as they did in Edinburgh. I guess the orchestra is traveling around the UK with the band.
Pete and Roger interacted a bit with the rowdy fans. Pete mentioned that, as a child, he had a friend who rooted for the local team. Some people took offense at that and screamed back at him about that for the rest of the show.
The band only set expanded to 8 songs, including Kids Are Alright, Substitute, My Generation, and Anyway Anyhow, which Pete stated that he and Roger wrote that together. He also mused as to why they are singing all these old songs that they couldn't sing 60 years ago. He also went on about how old he and Roger are - nothing new. The fans especially seemed to enjoy the old songs and the Quad set.
Roger sounded strong all night and Pete enjoyed his 3 songs.
My problem was with how security managed the fans. Random fans lined up for UB40 on the rail, which is not uncommon during a support set. The problem was that security made no attempt to clear the people who had seats wherever but not in the front row, or even the 2nd or 3rd rows. I moved closer to center on the rail than my actual seat (my seat was in the front row) as soon as I saw what was happening. What followed for the entire concert was pushing, shoving and groping like the worst GA show that I ever attended. This culminated for me having the drumstick that Zak specifically threw to me being snatched from my hand by one of the unruly fans who laughing told me that he didn't even know where his seat was, but it was "back there". If this show wasn't the Who and if it wasn't my last show this tour, I probably would have left.