Review by Mark Fintz
I had been concerned what the show would be like with an orchestra for the majority of the show. Considering just having seen Pete’s Quadrophenia and Roger’s Tommy orchestra tours, I really wanted pure, unfiltered Who. I didn’t have a ticket and on the morning of the show George Ligouri and I scored front row center seats on Ticketmaster. The miracle of all miracles for those seats to pop up and score them. We saw other floor seats popping up randomly and disappear.
I still get chills when they play Overture and it flashed me back to Radio City 1989. 1921 was great and I was disappointed they dropped Acid Queen. Sparks/AJ is sooo much better without the orchestra and was one of the strongest moments in past tours. The fire between Zak and Pete with Roger destroying tambourines is what gets the blood pumping. The Quad songs were also great, but not as powerful as the core band without an orchestra. It was nice to see Pete do both Drowned and I’m One.
It was a night of mishaps which was funny in some aspects. Roger blew two verses of Imagine A Man and after the song was done, recited the verses he missed. Most of us were laughing and so was Pete. But, Pete had a moment also. Pete started I’m One and spaced out on the lyrics. He said “let me start again and confessed he wasn’t big on lyrics and he started asking for help. We’re all yelling “every year it’s the same…” Hilarious moment and when Pete redid the song, he nailed it.
The band only set was a huge letdown. Only five songs which I expected to be the best moments turned out to be mostly unplugged. Acoustic WGFA should be dropped or returned to its electric format. The song is an anthem and I’m sure 99% of fans wanted to hear it in full force. Acoustic WGFA during the 96 MSG shows was also a letdown. From my perspective, only Pete should do this song acoustic. It works better with his falsetto voice as demonstrated during Secret Policeman’s Ball, Joe’s Pub and some other gigs Pete has done.
Finally, as the show ended, Roger went on a “F-bomb” rant directed at the weed smokers on Simon’s side. He was visibly upset commenting that the smoke just sucks up his voice. I did not notice any issues with his voice.
Overall, had a great time being right between the Two, but not the best Who show ever. The promise of rarities has not been fulfilled, Naked Eye continues to be out of the setlist along with Magic Bus. Next Stop Jones Beach and Boston!