Webcast part 1
Webcast part 2
Webcast part 3
I Can't Explain
Who Are You
I Can See For Miles
The Kids Are Alright
My Generation / Cry if You Want / Naked Eye
Behind Blue Eyes
Behind Blue Eyes
You Better You Bet
Love reign O'er Me
Pinball Wizard / See me, Feel me
Won't Get Fooled Again
Review by Gloria Paulsen
Sir, are you drunk? The Who at Outsidelands
“Sir are you drunk?”, asked the head of security to Joe Paulsen as he stood first in line at Outside Lands on Sunday, August 13 at 5:00am. “No, I’m just here to see The Who!” Yes, a full 14.5 hours before The Who was scheduled to hit the stage we sat outside of the South entrance gates ready for a long wait! We were hoping that our wait would pay off with spots on the rail. At 11:00am, joined by 5 other Who fans, we ran towards the Lands End Stage and claimed rail spots in front of Roger and Pete’s side.
With 8.5 hours until showtime we made friends with other festival attendees, reminisced about the past two weeks of Las Vegas shows, and tried the food. I enjoyed watching the 5 acts before The Who: Lee Fields, K. Flay, Bleachers, Young the Giant, and Lorde. I even let younger audience members enjoy my rail spot for Bleachers. As showtime approached the crowd did not dissipate, instead it grew larger and pushed us right up to the rail, making me wonder if I would have enough space to dance to Eminence Front.
At 7:35pm The Who hit the stage. Pete came out swinging! He was happy and excited to be in SF and his energy fueled the crowd. As soon as I Can’t Explain started the audience around us started singing. All those young kids who had waited on the field with us knew the lyrics and sang along the entire show! So any talk of millennials not appreciating The Who in other reviews is just poppycock. The young kids around us were just as excited to be there.
Standouts for me were Pete and his red Stratocaster, “This red guitar kills fascists!” And even more poignant was his “We fucked it up” during My Generation. Pete’s words during a horrific weekend in the US were sobering. The video during The Rock made several audience members around me cry and later I read a thread on Reddit titled, “Who else expected to cry tonight during The Who?” The Rock video should be required school viewing.
Setlist included songs done in Vegas except for the addition of The Rock. I loved each and every song and felt sadness once they started playing Baba O’Reily, and not because several young women behind us OD’d on a blunt the size of a banana earlier that night, but because I knew the set was drawing to an end. Pete’s energy and guitar playing were amazing during the entire show. He still looked energized during WGFA. After band introductions and thanks, Pete walked off the stage as Roger reminded us to be “lucky”! Yes, we were lucky that day! Not drunk, just lucky to be alive and healthy enough to form a line at 5am and run like crazy for the rail!
Review by Richie Unterberger (excerpt from Best Classic Bands)
“You’re young, and we’re not young,” declared Pete Townshend by way of introduction as The Who closed San Francisco’s Outside Lands Festival in Golden Gate Park Sunday night (Aug. 13). It was true that, for the most part, the dozens of acts at the three-day event were young emerging rockers and rappers in their twenties and thirties, and much of the audience was younger still. It’s not every festival where a thirty-something couple complains to you about the number of teenagers talking during performances.
If the Who were daunted by the tens of thousands that filled the park’s Polo Fields for the fest’s finale, they didn’t show it. Townshend windmilled his way through the crowd-pleasing selection of hits and Tommy/Quadrophenia highlights with committed if somewhat grim determination. Roger Daltrey still hit most of the notes in his operatic-for-rock range, though he engaged in just a bit of modified microphone twirling during “5:15.”
Things have changed a lot since the Who first played San Francisco (including legendary gigs at the Fillmore and the nearby Monterey Pop Festival) in 1967, a half-century ago. Keith Moon’s been gone nearly 40 years, and John Entwistle for 15. The drummer and bassist are now represented by some of the film clips and stills that form the backdrop to much of the Who’s show. Uncharitable purists might call this version of the band the ’alf ’Oo, as only half the classic lineup remains.
Still, the other musicians who now flesh out the touring Who on assorted guitars, keyboards and percussion gave the classics body without intruding on the unquestioned stars of the show. And a couple do have close connections to the Who and the era in which the band rose to greatness. Zak Starkey, son of Ringo, has by now drummed with the band longer than Moon did, and is established as more of a fan favorite than the actual British Invasion drummer who replaced Moon, former Small Faces stickman Kenney Jones. Townshend’s younger brother Simon’s on one of the guitars, though most of the audience probably didn’t recognize this before the band introductions at the end.
Yet the spotlight remains, figuratively and usually literally, on Pete and Roger. Townshend’s actually playing better, and certainly with more volume and electricity, than he did on the Who’s first reunion tour in 1989. He’s also handling most of the stage announcements, supplying much of the spice in a set that doesn’t contain many surprises (and no songs more recent than “Eminence Front,” from 1982’s It’s Hard album). “We don’t want to go there again, fucking seriously,” he implored after remembering how many U.S. men were fighting in Vietnam when the Who first played San Francisco shortly before the Summer of Love. “This red guitar kills fascists,” he observed later, to the delight of the heavily left-leaning Bay Area crowd.
And as for the weather—so foggy and cool, as it often is in the city in August, that it often seemed like actual rain was falling when the lights hit certain angles—“you gotta be tough to do [this] shit in weather like this.” A fair point, but if it’s that cold up there (and it wasn’t his only complaint about the chill), why are you doing the show without a coat, Pete?
To continue reading the rest of Richie's review, click here to visit Best Classic Bands.
Review by Tim Herrlinger
Except for for the last two hours, I was extremely disappointed with the entire Outside Lands experience on Sunday. I arrived at the South Entrance gate at 7:40 AM to meet our Who touring friends (mostly Relayers) who arrived at 5:30 AM. I was number 8 in line. When the gates opened at 11, we ran to the stage only to find several people there who must have had special "pre-doors" admission. Having to try to claim our rail space for more than 8 hours while 5 other bands played until the headline act came on was insane.
After each artist, the crowd surged forward. People up front had to be evacuated throughout the day. I witnessed more than a handful of women being passed over the railing so security could help them. One right behind me had passed out and we got her to her feet and rescued her. It was probably a combination of alcohol, pot, and the crush that exacerbated the problem. One woman felt claustrophobic (as did my wife Sue, but she toughed it out) and said enough was enough before having pit security bail her out. The situation up front wasn't just awful, it was horrible. I'll never go back to Outside Lands again, even if The Who play there next year. And that's saying a fucking helluva lot.
In the main, non-VIP section, nearly everyone was 25 years old or under. About 85% of the people near me up close to the stage were girls or young women. Lee Fields and the Expressions was mellow, but beginning with K. Flay, the females in the crowd were repeatedly screaming in my ears and I just didn't get her music. Bleachers was the only undercard I liked. They had a lot of energy and Jack Antonoff worked the crowd well. There were a lot of powerful guitar licks with a pop flavor. Interestingly, the song that really got the throng going crazy was "Go Your Own Way". I had a feeling most of the horde probably didn't know it was a cover of a Fleetwood Mac song. I was shocked at how many people were swooning over Young the Giant. While it seemed to me they were passionate about their music, I didn't like any of it and was just in awe how the crowd was captivated by their performance, singing along to every song. I couldn't wait until their set was over.
Finally, Sue and our 7-year old son Jack showed up just before Young the Giant hit the stage. She texted me that she was right behind me, but couldn't get to the rail. I saw her and she lifted Jack up so he could see his dad and I waved for them to come forward. This was a cue to the crowd and they took him and sent him crowd surfing for 7 rows until he reached me. Fun, but a little scary, especially seeing your child at the mercy of others. Sue followed soon and we were all united in the front row.
I hadn't left my spot since before noon and the end of Young the Giant was my chance to exit the masses with a slight chance of returning to my original spot. Having a young child was my saving grace. I hijacked Jack and held him in front of me and pushed through the tight crowd saying "Gotta take him to the bathroom" and most people yielded a couple of feet to let us squeeze through. We hit the metal railing of the VIP emergency access avenue and thankfully security let us jump over the fence. Relief, finally.
We made our way along the VIP chute and were now in the full VIP area. Here were the older people and it emphasized the strange mix of apparent income classes at Outside Lands. Under the spacious canopy tents and in an area of big lounge chairs, wine bars, and specialty food, I saw three people in full-length white hotel bathrobes. What the fuck was up with that? Anyway, while Lorde was playing (another artist I didn't "get"), Jack and I got to eat, hit the restroom, and take a much needed (at least for dad) respite from the thousands in the mob. We watched Lorde on a TV screen while eating.
I wanted to be back up front for The Who and near the end of Lorde's set, we started to make our way back. Unsurprisingly, the VIP security wouldn't allow us to go back through the railing avenue between the VIP crowd and the general admission area from where we came. It was only for evacuation, despite showing a photo of us on the rail and asking to allow Jack to be back with his mother. So we pressed through the main crowd, again with Jack in the front, hoping for a little compassion for the little guy. We got to within about 20 rows from the front and waited for Lorde to end. Then I had to almost individually plead with people to let us back to our original spot. Asking members of the young crowd to let Jack get back to where his mother was turned out to be the most effective tactic. When we were finally about five rows from Sue, I shouted to her and she turned around and waved to us. Then people let us through. But up front, it was even tighter than before. The people behind us who we allowed to stand in the front row while their favorite bands were playing, didn't yield their spots as agreed when The Who were to come on. I turned into the "You damn kids get off my lawn" curmudgeon and put my foot down several times and reminded them that I'd been there nearly 12 hours for this.
Finally, the three of us were right in front of Pete. I thought The Who's performance was powerful and solid, especially for their septuagenarian age. All Who shows have their moments of flubbed lyrics or bum notes, and this was no exception. But that's what makes the live performances special. It's about the experience of giving all they have with fervor and sincerity, not perfection. I thought the show was outstanding.
Roger's voice was as good as it has been in decades. His microphone twirling resurfaced and reminded me of his younger self. Likewise, Pete was animated and tossed in some hopping, leaps, and other energetic moves. The crowd was appreciative and more obscure songs like Join Together and Naked Eye were welcomed by not only those of us who see multiple shows on a tour, but the uninitiated as well.
I still have a tough time seeing 8 people on stage as The Who. Yes, it's difficult to recreate what we saw in the 60s and 70s, and I appreciate hearing the complex vocals of I Can See for Miles that can't apparently be translated on stage with four people, but I yearn for a four, five, or even six piece band. I'd love to see the current Who take risks and explore what they can do with an extended jam. But I also know that this touring group and the cities they've chosen, require a formula that allows for limited deviation. Hell, with their catalogue, it's difficult to remember, re-learn, rehearse, and pull off more songs than their greatest hits. But it would be nice to hear something even more recent like "Black Widow's Eyes" or "It's Not Enough".
One segment I'd never delete is The See Me, Feel Me, Listening to You part of the show. I'm an atheist, but it's always as close to what I'd imagine a religious experience would be. It never fails to move me and I always point to Pete (my kind of Messiah) every time the word "you" is sung during the song. I wish it were the set list coda for the night. But Baba and WGFA are nice endings too.