Review by Don Robinson
So after the excellent show we saw at Edinburgh, we were really looking forward to a more local show at Durham (we’re from Alnwick about 40 miles north). Got to the Castle above the ground quite early so popped down to the Riverside ground when we heard the sound check start. Big mistake, cue Thunderstorm and got soaked, so we went back to dry out.
Most people staying at the Castle were there for the gig and rumour was that the band were there but we didn’t see any evidence of that. Everyone wandering about in various who T shirts, all very friendly knowing that we were going to the same show that evening.
Having finally dried out we wandered down around 6PM, and along with another couple found our to gate 4 and the bar. Drink was very reasonably priced, probably due to the standard pricing for cricket matches, all the same it was a nice change.
Wandered down to the merchandise stall which wasn’t too busy, and for a couple of photos on Jimmy’s scooter. Went down to the front where our seats were centre block on the right and chatted to one of the security behind the fence who turned out to be a big who fan.
Stage was set back quite a way from the barrier so no neck craning required and lots of security around. Missed the first artist but caught UB40 set. Sounding really good and you forget how many class songs they had. I’m guessing Ali Campbell is the only original member. Loved their version of Purple Rain. And it didn’t rain.
Fast forward and a quick set up for the Who and on walks Zak and the rest of the band, and off we go.
The Tommy section is unchanged from all the shows so far and really gets most of the best songs (would love to hear I’m Free again). The band sound really good and Roger is still in great voice, smiling a lot and plenty mic twirling. Who are you and Eminence front end the Orchestrated performance for now.
A cracking 8 song set of band only songs including Substitute, Can’t Explain, and My Generation. I always loved the energy of this song ever since I heard the live at Leeds version, and it gets everyone on their feet. Set is rounded off with Won’t get fooled again and an acoustic Behind Blues Eyes. Our favourite song. Rogers voice is holding up well. No miming here the phrasing changes and the odd mistake keeps an edge to the show.
Pete is in a chatty mood and it brings a connection as he recalls visits to the region and borrowing petrol money to get home and how they have used Newcastle United tour bus to get about for the last few days (and found a few handbags stashed away at the back).
The Real me starts the Quad section and the Orchestra really adds to this part. For Tommy it’s symphonic flourishes are complimentary to the songs. In the Quad section it seems to help drive the songs. You couldn’t drop any of the 5 Quad songs from this section, but you could add a Dr Jimmy or even Bell Boy, but it’s just excellent even without.
The Rock played while the screens show historical events is superb. We couldn’t see the screens this time as we were at the very front so had chance to take in how well Pete and Simon were playing. And then suddenly Loren Gold kicks off a beautiful long intro into Love reign O’er me and Roger nails it at the end after a cracking bit of guitar work from Pete.
So ending with Baba is great and the violin solo is truly excellent. No Tea-and Theatre tonight. But the standing ovation tells you just how good they were. We were the 2 idiots dancing down the front from the off. Sorry if we distracted you but what a gig and we’ll do it all again if we can.
Review by Melissa and Gary Hurley
Tonight’s venue is a very large cricket ground in the North of England located some 10 miles South of the Major Town of Newcastle Upon Tyne and 5 miles North of the Historic City of Durham with its famous Cathedral, its old street market and ancient University. The ground is used annually for English test cricket matches and is located just off the A1(M) Motorway that starts North of London and heads up to Scotland, and in the 60s was the only direct road from North To South before the M1 Motorway was constructed in the 70s so most early Rock bands are familiar with this unique road, including our boys, when touring in the mid to late 60s in their small vans. Now Newcastle is famous for it’s Rock And Roll Culture and the famous Newcastle United Football club that go hand in hand with each other and The Who have played at every major venue in town over the past 50+ years at the Odeon, The fabulous City Hall, and the Newcastle Arena. But tonight it was a small trip South to the twenty thousand + seater stadium, which unfortunately was only one third full with only pitch seating and standing behind the seats sold while every seat on the sides of the pitch are covered up and unsold on this cold and wet Wednesday work night.
UB40 once again opened up for The Who but on this occasion they did not go down well with the audience like most of the other venues they have supported The Who on this U.K. tour, and no one was dancing along, just drinking beer and looking bored.
Once again the boys hit the stage at 8.15 and much to my surprise 99.9 present of the audience remained seated and remained so for the rest of the evening which is unheard of in the past in this rocking part of the World! The set remained the same as the past few shows so we will just comment on the onstage banter for this review along with some observations.
After Tommy, Pete once again talked about the Touring Orchestra and how they have added so much to the music every night. Pete also gave tribute to his long time guitar technician and Roadie Alan Rogan, who was born and raised in Newcastle and passed away just over 4 years ago, and Pete was almost wiping tears from his eyes at this moment to his old friend.
Pete also mentioned that in the early days of touring the North of England the band stayed at the 3 or 5 Bridges hotel (he had a problem remembering the number) that the band stayed at in the early days (this refers to the amount of bridges that cross the Tyne river) and that on one occasion Pete had no money for petrol (gas) when passing by on one occasion and stopped by the hotel saying ‘Hi do you remember me?’ and asking for a loan to fill his car up to continue his journey!
Later Pete mentioned the weather and the fact that it is always cold in this part of the world, when Roger mentioned the fact that in the middle of Winter most people only walk about in a Football jersey (soccer) and at football matches will stand with no shirt on at all supporting their team on a Saturday afternoon. At the end of the show Pete thanked the orchestra once again and mentioned the Edinburgh audience from last week and how he mentioned at the show they originated from Edinburgh until the very end and said actually they are from England and that everyone started to boo in the crowd. He also said that he had enjoyed himself at this show (Pete did play extended solos tonight) and thanked everyone for coming out midweek
Roger removed the drumsticks from Zak at the curtain call and handed them out to the crowd instead. Pete also said he was getting a cold in his body after so many cool summer nights in the U.K. Most of mainland Europe is in a heatwave with temperatures above 100, England is half that in the past weeks. The jet stream is below us at the moment with more rain in the forecast. The show was a little down in terms of audience reaction and with another cold and windy night most people made a quick exit from the once again uncovered pitch to the warmth of their cars.