We're Not Gonna Take It
See Me Feel Me
Who Are You
I Can See for Miles
The Kids Are Alright
Won't Get Fooled Again
Behind Blue Eyes
Ball and Chain
The Real Me
Love Reign O'er Me
Audio of show
Review by Lauren J. Hammer
Top line summary:
As expected, opening night = dress rehearsal. Roger and Pete both looking great, sounding great, and in good spirits. Pete super chatty. NOT a truncated casino show. Full length show. Something like 2:20 (a significant chunk of which was Pete talking). Pete did a lot of backing vocals, which was an absolute delight (singing, not shouting - yay) It was a true joy to be there.
On the one hand, it was opening night of the 2022 North American tour, something that I wasn’t sure I’d ever see come back to life. On the other hand, one could just as accurately claim that the show wasn’t so much a new tour, as the next leg of the 2019 Movin’ On tour, albeit a leg delayed by two full years, compliments of Covid.
Strengthening the later argument, was the fact that it was pretty much the same show. That’s neither a good thing nor a bad thing, per se. It just is what it is.
Regardless of any of the rest of the detail, it was absolutely joyful and glorious, for all of us to be there. The band, the crew, the fans.
And it was so great to see everyone - again, the band and the crew and the other fans. We’ve missed one another, and it very much felt like coming home.
As for the show itself, as is pretty much always the case for them, opening night = dress rehearsal. It’s always a joy to be a part of it, to be there. And, it’s always a bit of a rough show. If it’s the only show that someone sees on the tour, they probably go home raving about it. But for those of us with more than a few Who shows under our belt, we know each night’s quite likely gonna get better, until they hit their stride, somewhere between #3-5.
w/ Orchestra Set 1:
Roger’s opening line, “So where were we?” Perfect!
They came out strong, with a chunk of Tommy. Amazing Journey/Sparks always rocks my world, but during the Sparks instrumental, the band and orchestra fell out of sync, which was a little bit rocky.
Side Note: Someone asked about Pete’s guitar change during Sparks, thinking it was a problem. No, he changes mid-song every night.
Roger’s no longer starting Pinball Wizard in his crouch. I miss that a little bit.
During See Me, Feel Me / Listening to You, I realized it was already worth the time and money and stress involved in being here. Absolutely fucking priceless. Perhaps the greatest group prayer in the history of humanity. The reciprocity of it captures the essence of why we all keep showing up - both us and them.
The rest of the set was mostly good.
Roger’s now playing electric guitar on Who Are You. They did stop and re-start.
When Eminence Front started, we wondered for a bit if Pete was going to sing lead - or Roger. (I really liked Roger’s bluesy version a the TCT RAH show a few weeks ago.)
I am so, so glad that Imagine a Man stayed in the set. Next to the Tommy and Quad material, I think it’s the song that most significantly benefits from the orchestration + the depth of meaning when sung by older Roger, is deeply resonant.
Hero Ground Zero doesn’t do much for me. I love the new album, overall, but this is in my lower echelon of tracks.
Join Together is a fun crowd song, but not a favorite of mine, nor was this a strong version.
Mid-show Band Only Set:
It was like they made a rule that only material on a 1971 release could be played. Everything they did was from either Meaty Beaty or LIfehouse.
Of course, it was great to see them without the orchestra, to see them as a BAND. And while the set list wasn’t bad, it’s not a setlist that excited me, especially as this is the bit of the show that lends itself to a bit of adventurousness.
While Substitute is a real crowd pleaser in the UK, it’s really just a random early single, here in the States. While I do like Sub, personally, I’d MUCH RATHER hear I Can’t Explain. (I’m one of the people who subscribes to the view that every Who show should open with ICE. That’s when I know all is right with the world.)
Substitute followed by The Seeker struck me as a bit of an odd pairing, as in the regular set list, it’s usually one OR the other, in that #2, cruise control, settle in spot.
Miles is a brilliant song. I’m a little bit burnt on it, but it’s a great song. And it illustrates just how good the backing vocals of this group are.
Kids is an underrated gem, IMO, that I’m glad they seem to recognize as such. I thought they were going to go into the extended version. I was kind of surprised when they just ended the song with the short version.
Then Won’t Get Fooled Again was an absolute train wreck. It was way up there with Cry if You Want, opening night in Glasgow, in 2014. But while that was a glorious train wreck, that I would listen to over and over again, this one was just a shocking surprise. Roger just plain got lost. He lost where he was and what he was supposed to be singing. Finally Pete just told him to make something up, but he wasn’t able to lock back in, so finally Pete stepped up to the mic and started making shit up. But then he just continued and never really let Roger back in / Roger never found his footing. Probably the worst version of the song I’ve ever seen them do. (And personally, I quite like their acoustic duo version of it, as the full band version has bored the crap out of me since John died.)
Behind Blue Eyes adds Katie (violin) and Audrey (cello) back in to augment the core band. It is a lovely rendition, every night. And I’m really glad that Pete finally acquiesced to incorporating the a cappella group vocal break that was developed at Roger’s solo shows. I quite love it, every night. I’m not sure what his resistance was, but I’m glad he’s come around.
w/ Orchestra Set 2:
Ball and Chain (Guantanamo) - Same comment as HGZ. I love the new album, and this too is one of my least favorite of the “new” tracks. I so wish they would play All This Music Must Fade and/or I Don’t Wanna Get Wise. (And it’s been great that with the stripped down “acoustic” band, they’ve been doing She Rocked My World and Beads on One String and Break the News.)
Then came the Quad set, which so lends itself to the full orchestration, and which they’ve played so much over the past 20 years. They slip into it quite easily.
The Real Me comes out strong.
I’m One is always wonderful. I’m go glad Pete is mostly SINGING, not growling or shouting. And for those who notice, he’s gone back to “I’ve got a Gibson, without a case,” as opposed to “ain’t got a case.” I like the format of the song, meaning starting out with a Pete solo + guitar verse, before Zak and band come in, and then those beautiful shared vocals with Pete and Simon, later in the song. I love when they sing together.
I still hate them playing 5.15 and believe it should have been retired after John died.
Punk ALMOST made the setlist. I would so, so, so much rather hear that.
Apparently, during The Rock, Pete and Simon both had guitar issues. My friends told me this after the show. I totally missed it, as I was turned away from the stage in order to watch the video montage, which when you’re in the front row, is kind of off to the side, behind you. I think it may be the same one as 2019, which is mostly the same as the 2012/2013 Quad tour, but with maybe 15%-20% modifications. For me, it’s become inextricably intertwined with the song, and I very much miss the montage when it’s not there. I find the Keith, the John, and the 9/11sequences particularly emotional, every night. I miss the sweet, sweet Keith photo that was in the original.
I was surprised that Roger sprayed water during Love Reign - during Covid. I stepped back away as far as I could and turned away.
Pete forgot Keith (Levenson, the conductor). We tried to tell them, but they weren’t getting it. Roger hadn’t been paying attention, but he knew that something was up. So he eventually stepped in, but instead of introducing Keith, he introduced Billy, a second time! LOL
Then before they figured it out, someone hit the Baba synth intro, and it was go time.
After Baba, Keith finally got his well deserved props!
Pete was incredibly chatty. I’ll leave it to other people to tell the details. I’m not good at retaining that, but I’ll try to mention some of the topics, in no particular order
Pete watching Gotta Dance to Keep From Crying on YouTube and commenting on the comments. Pete’s culling his record collection from 15K to 5K when moving house during Covid. And trying to listen through the albums and revisit his life through music memories. Talked about his son losing his digital music collection as a teen and being entirely non-plussed. Talked about an early trip to FL, where a convertible car top flew off the car. Very off color comment how the loud members, Keith and John, are now dead. (Not offensive to me, understanding the world of Pete, but…). Telling a friend of mine to “fuck off” during a hangnail conversation. Mispronouncing Seinfeld, while riffing on Jewish/German names. And a fun discussion about how rarely it gets hard these days. (Use your imagination.)
Fashion Report: Roger in stonewashed blue jeans, a blue t shirt, and New Balance sneakers (trainers). Pete in black jeans, black shoes, and tasteful striped shirt, and a striped suit coat. Pete woulda looked sharp IF HE WASN’T TRYING TO PLAY GUITAR. I continue to be absolutely baffled by him wearing a jacket on stage. It’s always in his fucking way.
Simon wearing glasses, which I don’t recall seeing on stage before. Zak still a beach blonde, and dressed all in yellow.
Band: Roger, Pete, Simon, Zak, Jon Button, Loren Gold, and Billy Nicholls,
+ Keith Levenson, Katie Jacoby, Audrey Snyder, and Emily Marshall.
Final P.S. Tea and Theatre was on the list as an encore song, followed by ?? Personally, I liked it as a show ender, and I was disappointed that it didn’t get played.
Review by Marc Starcke
Pete was in a talkative mood, making crude jokes toward present and past band members. Complained about the echo in the hall. Making a comment similar to what Roger said in Chicago 43 years ago. "There's another band on the other side of the hall who sound better than us". Pete added "Well, at least it's now a lot quieter on stage. The two guys who used to make the most noise are dead!" Another swipe at Moon and Entwistle. Looks like he might have to apologize to the family members of each for the hundredth time (so it feels like).
During "Won't Get Fooled Again" Roger lost his way and was completely loss on the words, causing Pete to yell at Roger to "make something up, make something up". Roger was still lost, so Pete took over the vocals, prefacing the song's lyrics with some odd ad lib words directed at Roger "but things look pretty grim for you and him, but for me I'm not doing too bad. I don't mind what you call me even if it's right or wrong, you just got to get the words to this song" (laughter from the audience). Pete's remaining vocals during the song were right on. His voice never sounded better and his acoustic guitar playing was awesome! Roger came back in for the final refrain.
The vocals from both Pete and Roger sounded clear and powerful, especially during the Quadrophenia section. Loren, Jon, Simon, Zak, Billy Nichols backing vocals were all as great as usual. Zak's electric drum kit is still a bit odd to me but he came thru loud and clear and that's all that counts. His hair is super long now.
The show and setlist order were the same as in 2019 except for new additions "I Can See for Miles" and "Join Together" featuring Loren on the jew's harp.
Newcomer keys player (mostly during when the orchestra were on the stage) Emily Marshall enjoyed her first show with band. She wrote on instagram: "My first real live rock tour stop complete. Give me 3000 more, please. I’ve never had more fun!"