Review by Pat Stanton
The concert at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto was excellent and so much better than the first show in NY, although the wheels came off the magic bus at the end of the show.
Roger had a serious issue starting in the middle of his signature Love Reign and it continued through the Baba finale. He stopped singing. He picked up at the very end of Love Reign and then basically led the audience through Baba, occasionally singing a lyric. He left the stage after the song, and Pete explained that he had lost his voice and that he wished us Roger's typical farewell of be lucky. I won't second guess Pete's statement but I noticed the orchestra was much louder than in other cities and it was extraordinarily loud during Love Reign - like 1812 Overture loud - and Roger appeared upset with his hearing. Hopefully everything will be sorted out and his voice will recover quickly.
The band introductions were so quick that if you weren't playing attention you would have missed them.
The set list was the same except I Can See For Miles returned and You Betta You Bet was dropped. Good move.
Pete was extraordinarily energetic and happy the entire show. He looked quite dapper in a white shirt with a red hankie. His solo bits during several of the songs were excellent and very entertaining. He does seem to be challenged with the lyrics of I'm One. Last night he skipped the blue jeans verse and went straight into the I've got a Gibson verse - the one he forgot in NY and that he does a duet with Simon. So when it was time for the duet, Simon stepped up to the microphone and looked across the stage for a cue on what was next, smiling. Pete then sang the skipped blue jeans verse so the entire song was performed, just jumbled. Simon didn't get his duet. Hopefully next time.
They did the same 2 new songs and the audience responded positively. Big Cigars a/k/a Guantanamo is starting to grow on me. Roger insists on calling it Ball and Chains so it will be interesting what the title is when the CD is released.
Pete sounded strong all night. Roger sounded great until he suddenly stopped singing in Love Reign. Pete actually came over to Roger at the end of Love Reign and put his hand on Roger's shoulder as if to comfort/calm him. It was a kind gesture.
Pete reiterated how much the band has always loved Toronto. He complimented Toronto/Canada that they have their act together - so much that he thought about moving there - just kidding. I guess all the Brexit talk in the UK is getting to him.
St Paul, the original first concert of the fall tour before the extra NY concert was added and the Raptors pushed Toronto from June, is next. Fingers crossed that Roger is okay. And that Keith is better able to control the next orchestra's volume so it doesn’t cause Roger to scream over it and find it impossible to hear.
Review by GW Sindrey
Well that was a nice night out at The Who Concert. If the weather had been better I was going to tour around Toronto before the show and take some photographs of my home city. On the subway on the way down to the show my mind was thinking about that night in 1982 when I was 12 and they did the live broadcast of the final show. How crazy it seemed to be on the subway going past the old Maple Leafs Garden to see a version of The Who, in Toronto, in 2019, 37 years later. Feeling pretty lucky that this was real, with ticket in hand.
The Tommy section was great with the orchestra. Like they advertised, it was the rock band instruments with the big band filling in the sound of the original album. But I noticed some new arrangements to it as well. The highlight for me during the first half turned out to be Imagine A Man! It turned out great! I was really happy to hear the 2 new songs from the forth coming album. Can't wait to hear the final album. Some of it reminded me of Endless Wire, but how could it not? The acoustic version of WGFA was different. I thought it was cool they attempted a different version. It just seemed odd as it's such an arena rocker normally. But I like the idea they did it differently.
The Quadrophenia section of the show was where the concert took off to the next level. That album was made for a large band so no surprise! Those tracks was where the large band and the core of the Who seemed to be working together perfectly. 5:15 saw Pete with a lot more fire. The Rock was insane and floored me. They played it better than I've heard prior live. During Love Reign O'er me you could see and hear Roger was upset with his in ear monitors. Once he pulled them out he could sing better. At one point Pete patted him on the back. But Roger made it thru, straining a bit but he made it. I also kept thinking about Pete's damaged hand from the NYC show. On the big screen I could see a bandage on the palm of his hand but not the finger he messed up.
During Baba I made my way to the back of the hall to where the elevators are. Zoomed up to street level just as it ended and on the subway before the last echo. Made it home somewhat fast even with 6 subway stations being shut down for nightly repairs. The shuttle buses run pretty quick between the effected stations.
Review by Todd Sylvester
Sound check was AWESOME! ICSFM was rehearsed and worked into the set list tonight. This bumped YBYB out of the show. No problem for me!!! From the onslaught of rehearsal the band sounded tight. Having been to a few VIP’s and sound checks, Rog can hold back a bit and save his voice for the show. This was not the case tonight. One of the new tunes, Rog calls it "Ball and Chain" and Pete has called it Big Cigar and Big Cigars, or I have heard it called Guantanamo. Whatever it ends up being called this is a RIPPER. Very heavy riff with lots of stuff for Rog to wrap his voice around. Again a good sign in sound check is that he was giving it his all on this tune. This new tune works for me. I think you will all be pleased with the outcome of this one. The other tune was Hero, Ground Zero which again live is growing on me. We did get an extra long sound check as the orchestra was out till 5 which left about 20 minuets where we just got to watch them adjust, tune, and banter it was really cool. We all did not mind the extra time.
The Show. OMG I won't go through it song by song. One thing has to be said. Pete was just fierce tonight. I am getting chills just thinking about it. He was possessed by his guitar tonight. He was dare I say a bit 'Scary' tonight. Spitting mad, and assassinating his guitar at every opportunity. He was loose and happy. You could just see he was in the 'pocket'. Eminence Front was like a journal entry being screamed at us from his old former self. The Rock tonight, oh my lord, instrumentals be dammed. It may not include the man, but this is a chance for us to see why he is Sir Pete Townshend. He can make that instrument wail. I swear I heard it cry tonight. I don't know if it was from the beating he was laying on it or the emotion of the song. You all know me I am always myopically focused on Rog. Pete demanded that I look at him tonight. He joked about the flight delay from NYC because of the weather and said they were only given "cheese sandwiches. The hard cores will get a total kick out of this.
Rog was on all night and in fine voice. Everything they both touched this night seemed like gold. The band was tight and all was good until THE LAST TWO songs. Listen I did not hear it from HIS mouth. I have WATCHED ROG on stage for over 40 years. I know it sounds crazy but I can tell his moods on stage. What his hand signals mean etc. He was loose and in a great mood all night and in an amazing voice. When it came to LROM, he was doing fine but you could tell he was starting to get annoyed. He kept pulling his ear monitor in and out and motioning for them to bring down the volume (hand signals). There is a mic right in front of Zaks drums and it goes to the sound guys. He kept turning around and you could tell he was giving them what for. You could hear it up front that Rog was very low in the mix, and the orchestra at that point was drowning him out and he knew it. So when it came time for signature water spit, scream moment, OMG, he wailed to the heavens cause he was so pissed off. Now, BABA, it runs on a loop. If Rog can't hear that loop he can't sing the song. It's that loop that determines entry times for all things, drums, vocals, etc. We were at the casino show in 2017 and when Rog was doing BABA he made the band come to a HALT at the harmonica part. Why? He couldn't hear the loop. It's the meat of song. He made the band start the song from scratch and do the song again. Pete did say "Poor Rog, he had lost his voice", but he hadn't, no one was paying attention. Rog just "gave up". He mouthed the words "Fuck it". That's why he let the audience sing. Two songs that Rog is very passionate about and loves to perform and the new techies weren't paying attention and the "Govner" was having none of it. I have never seen him leave the stage over the last few years without saying "Be Lucky". He was pissed at the sound, but his voice was fine. That is my opinion and we know what they are like.
Lastly again, everyone has their opinions. No, there is no more John, there is no more Keith. No, it is not the same WHO, how the fuck could it be its almost 60 years later. We always have the music though do we not? When I put on Quad (whatever version lol) Keith and John are back. You can't ever change that. I love the experience. For me, no, its not the same as the old boss. But our new one is doing just fine. It's my family. Each show gets more emotional and the friends that I spend the time with, its irreplaceable. And for the night I am alive again in our "church" of Rock and Roll. I am in it till the end.