Review by Debbie Bruns
(the professor with the tattoos)
An amazing journey is my best description of The Who show in St. Louis on Friday, October 14th. Was a bonus to only need to travel two hours to the city and venue though more than happy to travel much further and have and will continue to.
Had a first row seat in line with Simon and the best angle to see and hear Roger. Also easy to see Katie, Emily and Button. From my spot though, Billy was kind of hidden but definitely heard him. You also can’t miss Zak lol. You also can’t miss Pete strumming and windmilling in his black ensemble with blue socks peeking out I might add. Didn’t have a great vantage point to see Loren but certainly heard him too. Keith had a snazzy shirt on tonight. And, finally, kudos to Brent Elrod who had the seat to my right and was an amazing companion for the night.
Mike and the Dirty Knobs set us up with brilliant guitar work and chatting with the crowd. You could feel the energy rising as they played a trio of Tom Petty songs. They left the stage and The Who crew sprang into action. Shout out to Binky and Simon for all they do (keep reading).
Then, they took the stage (no police bossing the crowd back in a rage) and the magic began. I can’t say enough about the Tommy set in terms of the intensity of the music. It does feel like a religious experience especially when Roger puts his heart and soul into Listening to You. Being so close and watching his facial experiences clearly shows his intensity and embodiment of Tommy as a boy in his own world, as the exalted and acclaimed pinball wizard and, finally, as Tommy the man who sees himself for who he is. Also kudos to Roger for getting into and standing up from the low to the ground crouching stance at the start of Pinball Wizard. (Wish I could do that at 25 years younger than him, I’d fall over within a few seconds for sure…as I’ve tried lol.)
Then it was time for Who Are You. Always enjoy Roger’s vocal range with the growl at the end and Simon’s accompaniment who was clearly having fun with it. There was the usual chatting to provide context for Eminence Front and then they launched into it as only they can. Then came the selection from Who, Ball and Chain. Pete introduced it. Watching Roger sway as the music came in was hypnotic. It isn’t a fan favorite but the Enterprise Center was quiet and intent, mirroring Pete. Join Together raised the volume in the venue and signified why we were all in attendance.
Have to give a shout out to the microphone twirls. So fun to watch throughout the show. Roger nails it every time whether it’s a quick twirl within a verse or extended ones. It also felt like it was just inches from me a few times, which was both a bit terrifying and heady.
You Better You Bet was fun, always an interactive one and Roger was clearly enjoying it. The Seeker was next with an introduction by Pete. It’s not always included so we were lucky.
Then the orchestra left and it was time for Relay, which was well received. Next was the introduction to Naked Eye and a beautiful delivery with Roger and Pete sharing vocals and guitar (well, more Pete and Simon really). The crowd was again quiet, quiet in appreciation of including it in the show. It did not disappoint. I’m sure many people recorded it to share and keep for future viewing. Also, to note, needed to restart as Roger explained his hand was cramped up from holding the microphone for the first 45 minutes of the show.
In the introduction to Another Tricky Day, Roger talked about things being up and down and being born during an air raid (“my mother wasn’t happy with that”). He also said “That’s life , we can’t be up all the time or down all the time.” It turned out to be tricky as Roger moved around the stage to engage with fans and got tripped up with the microphone wire, held my breath for a second or two after he tripped. He kept singing though visibly unhappy. Shortly after, Binky came out to save the day and all was well. Roger would also lose his left earpiece several times later in the show. Again, he kept going while he tried to find it. At one point, Button helped him retrieve it by going under Roger’s shirt. I was also ready to help out if needed lol.
Won’t Get Fooled Again was powerful as it always is. Next was Behind Blue Eyes with Roger introducing Katie and Audrey and Pete introduced the local bass cello player. He (Pete) also joked about his grandfather (?) giving him grief about playing banjo saying “it was a fuckin guitar”. Then they launched into the song. Brilliant all around, just brilliant.
The orchestra returned for the Quadrophenia set (The Real Me, I’m One, 5:15, The Rock, Love, Reign O’er Me, Baba O’Riley). From my vantage point, Roger was getting a little tired or maybe was mentally preparing for the final two songs. Regardless, he gave it his all in intensity and continuing to interact with fans (so many thanks to him for that). The Rock was beautifully presented as only Pete, Simon, Zak and Loren can along with Keith directing the local orchestra, kudos to him.
Loren’s introduction to Love, Reign O’er Me was sublime and Roger launched right in after taking a brief rest (as he does every show) and grabbing his baby blue neckerchief (I assume it’s one of those that stays damp and cools the wearer). The crowd was on its feet and singing along. The emotions at that moment was knowing the show was coming close to its end but hearing true rock legends performing a signature song was intense. Onto the final song, Baba O’Riley, Roger was focused and also egged on the crowd to sing along as he always does and, of course, we all respond. Katie consistently wows the crowd with her play on the violin as well as with Roger and Pete during her solo.
And the crowd gathers and Roger says Be happy, Be healthy, and Be lucky and good night. It certainly was, it certainly was.
Review by Tom Elkins
Last night, The Who played The Enterprise Center in St. Louis, MO. The set list was largely unchanged from earlier performances on this tour with one notable exception from recent shows. They dropped "Join Together" from the first with orchestra section and added "The Seeker" to the band only section. This led to a middle show anchored by "The Seeker," "Relay," and "Naked Eye" with an exceptional performance of "Relay." Roger's voice is sounding better and better and Pete was loose, relaxed, and playful with the audience and the band. Roger lost his sound monitor down his shirt as he was coming back for "Love, Reign O'er Me" to which someone behind us shouted, "Hey Pete, help the new guy" which provoked a good laugh from Pete. Jon Button helped Roger with the monitor. Mike Campbell and the Dirty Knobs opened and as Campbell was leaving the stage, he shouted "Now, dig The Who."