Amazing Journey / Sparks
Who Are You
Ball and Chain
Ball and Chain
Another Tricky Day
Another Tricky Day
Won't Get Fooled Again
Won't Get Fooled Again
Behind Blue Eyes
Behind Blue Eyes
The Real Me
Love Reign O'er Me
Love Reign O'er Me
Love Reign O'er Me
Review by Carrie Pratt
My hometown Who concert in Seattle was really awesome! The show came at a great time in the tour, right in the middle of the second leg, so the band was in top form. They gave us a flawless performance that was crisp and technically perfect. Pete’s guitar playing was amazing, and Roger’s voice was stronger than ever. They were both in a great mood all night with lots of funny banter, which is always a highlight of the show for me. The whole band was super tight, and performed like a well oiled machine. The orchestra of local musicians were excellent, and their music blended with the band really well. They all played fantastic, and the whole concert was such a joy to listen to!
This was the first show that I have attended at the new Climate Pledge Arena since they extensively remodeled the old Key Arena (originally called Seattle Center Coliseum). It is now considered one of the best venues for viewing concerts, as they put in a great deal of work to make the acoustics perfect. We sat up a few rows on the steeply tiered section on Pete’s side of the stage, which had an unobstructed view of the whole stage and crystal clear audio. The sound was incredible! Pete’s guitar and Zak’s drums really popped, and came through loud and clear. The full power of the orchestra gave us a sensational almost 3D like experience. The Tommy and Quad sections were especially impressive. I would still prefer to see them play in a small theatre, but this was by far the best sound I have heard at an arena. The crowd around me were totally into it the whole show!
We also had fun wandering around the backstage area of the venue, and had great time hanging out with Who friends there before and after the show. The greenroom was near the orchestra, and we had a nice chat with Keith Levenson, who organizes and conducts the orchestra of local musicians at all the shows. After the show we went to a large Who gathering at an Irish pub close to the venue. I wasn’t expecting to see so many people gather way up here in PNW, some travelling all the way from London! It was wonderful to see everyone, some for the first time in person. It was like a mini-Who convention!
The evening was quite a different experience from when I first saw The Who play at the Seattle Center Coliseum back in October 1976, which turned out to be Keith Moon’s final show in the US. This month also marks the 40th anniversary of their October 1982 Farewell tour show in the Seattle Kingdome! I’m so happy that wasn’t really the end back then, and we all got to enjoy so many years of great shows since then. People keep wondering if this tour really will be the last. After seeing how great they still are, I can’t help but think there may be a few more shows left in them. It would be really nice to see a stripped down tour of smaller venues with just the band, or perhaps some residency shows where they don’t have to travel as much. I’m guessing there will be more shows in the UK next year. I’m glad they haven’t announced any definitive end, which leaves us all with a little hope for more. But if this does turn out to be my last Who show, it was a good one to end on!
Review by Sheva Golkow
“Don’t. Even. Fucking. Ask.” And with those four words, Pete Townshend opened the Seattle show Saturday night. We never did learn what transpired to prompt that statement, but it couldn’t have been too bad, because he and the band plus orchestra delivered a solid, upbeat, and highly entertaining performance.
This was my fourth and last show of the tour, which made the evening bittersweet and emotional. But while there were a few tears - always are - there was far more cheering and dancing on my part than crying. I spent most of the night front and center, with some time near the end in front of Pete (and that’s a very, very good thing).
There were no tech issues or major screw ups save one (more on that in a bit), just a few minor hiccups, which serve to remind us that however long they’ve been at this game, they are indeed human and therefore imperfect. But who needs perfection when you can have The Who?
Roger’s voice has been magnificent this go-round, and Saturday’s show was no exception. After hearing him struggle or be forced at times to drop an octave some years ago, it’s a joy to once again experience him in full voice. Pete’s playing is similarly wonderful, with him following an interesting path on his guitar every so often, taking whatever song he’s playing to a new place, while we get to enjoy the trip.
The set was the same as Portland; “Join Together” out, “Naked Eye” in. Between the latter, “The Seeker”, and “Tricky Day”, these shows have been a delight for many audience members, including me.
As I said, it was an emotionally charged night for me, with songs triggering memories of different people and places in my life, letting me savor the past washing over me even as I was very much in the present, watching this band I love so much.
The Tommy segment takes me back to summer camp, when on any given day you heard it being played by someone. That was the summer my division had to plan the annual camp carnival, complete with a theme. We suggested Tommy; that got shot down, so we settled on “Heroes”, with Tommy as ours. For our carnival booth, we built a skeeball-type game, designed to look like a pinball machine, complete with blinking lights and buzzers, and Pinball Wizard playing over and over. It was pretty great, as I recall.
Tricky Day fast-forwards me to around 2000 or so. I’d recently gotten a new job, with a wonderful boss. John was a big guy, one of those gentle giants, and was very into music. I’d established myself as a fellow music obsessive early on, easily answering all questions he shot at me, and he would introduce me to people as his music lifeline. Our work dealt with government training, and there were always problems to solve and “fires” to put out, which meant gathering outside his office to deal with the latest thing going haywire. One day as we were struggling to unravel the tangle du jour, I heard him singing to himself - something he did a lot - “This is no social crisis”. Instantly I caught his eye and came back with “Just another tricky day for you”. We both grinned, John said “G-d bless The Who” and we got back to work, still grinning. It became “our song” after that, and we recited those lines as our daily greeting to each other. We lost John a few short years later; he had a heart attack and died at his desk one morning. I still think of him often, and hearing Tricky Day on this tour has brought him back to me, however briefly, and made me cry.
Finally, there’s my teenage friend Shirley - the first big Who fan I ever met, and the person responsible for flipping me from a casual fan to a huge one, thanks to the day she introduced me to Who Came First. But the song that always reminds me of Shirley is Baba. One of her first jobs, while still in high school, was serving at our local Chinese restaurant. The job wasn’t fun, but she and her co-workers survived by singing “Teenage waitress, I’m just a teenage waitress” as they ran around taking orders and bringing food. At the end of the night, they’d throw up their hands and yell “We’re All Waitresses!” And heaven help me, I still sing it that way to myself; probably always will. I could go on, but I’ve no doubt many of you have your own personal life moments attached to various Who songs, and understand.
And that major screw up? It came during Pete’s band introductions. As he later acknowledged, he has on occasion forgotten one or another musician, but this was unusual - he forgot Simon. Several of us in the front started yelling “Your brother! You forgot Simon!” with hands pointing towards him. Pete even said “Did I forget anyone?” and re-introduced Zak, then Baba started up. Of course once it ended with Katie’s fiery violin and she and Pete playfully sparring, Pete stepped to the mic to give his nightly thank you to the audience. But before that, he apologized profusely for forgetting to introduce Simon, and called for a round of applause for his brother. And then it was all over. Love, forgiveness, gratitude - there was a time you would not have necessarily associated those words and the feelings behind them with The Who, but they certainly come to mind these days. Many, many thanks to Pete, Roger, the rest of the band and orchestra, and the great Keith Levenson for a spectacular, unforgettable week of shows!
Review by Jim Greenleaf
As Lance and I loaded up the The Magic Bus after a smoking night in Portland, we were glad to see the rain coming down on us to wash away all the hot fire filled weather. After a wet drive up The 5 (what’s with the The anyway?) we pulled into Seattle, home of Grunge, rain, and highly caffeinated humans. In other words, a perfect setting for The Who.
We had purchased the Baba O’Riley VIP Package to get the best seats, 2nd row just to Roger’s right was worth it. The VIP experience was not; the swag was a cheap bag with guitar picks, a fake laminate, and signed poster. We learned in Denver to bring our own poster tube because without one the poster got crushed by the end of the show. The food was sparse and the lounge was crowded.
Seattle finally had it’s own tour poster! But again, no tube to protect it. Big thanks to Daniel at the merch table on the main level for holding on to it during the show for me. Glad you like the tour bag.
The show itself was another strong and solid one. Pete stepped out in a red beanie and the first words he spoke were “Don’t ask!”. I knew it was going to be fun.
Some moments that stood out for me was Pete’s playing during Sparks – he was working it. Who Are You was rocking. I’ve always liked Eminence Front and thought Pete sang it well. Roger sounds better than in 2019 and the smoke from the earlier show in Portland never bothered him, I think the recent time off has been good for him physically. He really let loose on Love Reign Over Me and Who Are You. The Seeker, Naked Eye, and Behind Blue Eyes were all done with just the band giving them a much more lean and intimate sound.
The orchestra puts the Classic in Rock from Tommy and Quadrophenia selections. Pete, ever the gracious host, made sure to point out that most of the players are locals which speaks to the thriving arts in each city stop. All in all it was another strong showing by a band who strives each night to be worthy of your time to come see them.
Thanks to The Who and all the folks who make the tours possible, it was great fun and I’ll see you down the road.