by Tony Shaw
Having driven a 100 miles from deepest darkest Lakeland with expectation dripping from every pore, we gathered in Manchester this evening to be entertained by the greatest live act of all time, (Yes I’m biased so what) and entertained we were. Thanks to the fan club we had great seats, about 60ft from the stage and wow what a view!
The night kicked off with Vintage Trouble a classic ‘old school’ R&B band who succeeded in their thankless task of getting a response from a crowd who did not want to see them. Well worth a watch it you get the chance. However their excellent set was completely eclipsed by what The Who had in store for us!
Having read the reviews I was expecting much, and I got so much more. Roger’s musical director who arranged this version, has created a cohesive unity to the songs that few bands could conceive, let alone perform. Thankfully the MEN is acoustically a good venue which meant it was also up to the task and both music and vocals were almost crystal clear.
Opening with I am the sea, Quadrophenia was spell binding and I sang and boogied my heart out through every track.
Quardophenia is a complex and sophisticated work, thankfully the horn section, and rest of the band were up to the task. I must single out Simon Townsend’s lead guitar and vocal performance as he added a richness to the performance that deserves mention.
Roger’s mic twirling antics raised a laugh from the crowd when it went wrong and the grin on his face when he pulled it off next time was a treat to see. The highlights were the ‘appearances’ of John Entwhistle and Keith Moon on the big screen. Ox did the bass solo during 5:15 and Moon vocal parts during Bell Boy reminded us of just who we lost. I don’t know how many in the crowd understood the relevance of the two video slots, but for me, they were two of the stand out highlights.
Who ever created and timed the video elements deserves an Oscar, because they fitted seamlessly with the music and all I can say about Quadrophenia the piece, is it was simply perfect. After almost 90 minutes of perfection Roger and Pete brought the Quadrophenia section to an end with a stunning version of Love Reign O’ Me, before they moved into a 50 minute greatest hits section.
It was clear that the greats section was a crowd pleaser, and the big screen images during, Who Are You, Baba O’Reily and Won’t Get Fooled again were mind blowing. The Who closed with just Pete and Roger doing an relaxed (for The Who) acoustic version of Tea and Theatre, which ended a perfect night.
Arriving home with my ear’s ringing, neck and back aching, body broken, I am suffering from the classic indicators of a good night.
by Andy Oddy
The Greatest Show On Earth
Well, last night at the Manchester Arena was truly memorable. I always approach Who gigs with a degree of trepidation – after all they’re my favourite band and have been since childhood, I’ve seen them several times before, and, lets face it; Pete and Roger aren’t getting any younger – would they be on form? Would the sound be good or would I (who is also not getting any younger) find it too loud? There was some concern that Quadrophenia would not translate to the stage; it failed through its overt complexity and a need to translate the British Mods and Rockers culture of the early 60′s to an American audience in 1973.
Excitement was at fever pitch all through Sunday, even a cosy Sunday dinner with just me and The missus did nothing to allay that, and pre concert nerves were at fever pitch by the time we arrived at the Arena. Tee shirts were bought, beer consumed and seats taken – and what a view just 50 or 60 feet from the stage. The support act, Vintage Trouble, hit the stage with a thankless task. But they stuck at it, playing some superb blues n soul based tunes that soon had even the most die hard of Who fans up and dancing. They were simply brilliant and I will definitely be checking them out on iTunes.
And then Tommy, sorry, Roger, hit the stage along with Pete and a sizeable band. The mellow tones of I Am The Sea oozing into The Real Me. Daltrey’s voice still cuts a razor line and both his and Townshend’s energy levels were staggering; Pete is 68 and Roger 69 after all! The visual support on the screens was a fantasmagorical trip through the south coast bank holiday scenes of 1963 and scenes from the Goldhawk Road as Jimmy’s split personality was brought to the audience in ways which touched all of the senses.
The highlight had to be the resurrections of Keith Moon clowning his way through Bell Boy and John Entwistle, The Ox, Thunderfingers himself soloing at his power driven peak through 5:15. As Pete brought the Quadrophenia section to an end with a superb rendition of Love Reign O’er Me I took stock – had I just witnessed the greatest rock band on the planet absolutely nail their most technically challenging Magnus opus? There were no doubts in my mind and looking around the arena none on anyone else’s either.
The flow through Who Are You, You Better You Bet, Pinball Wizard led to a phenomenal rendition of Baba O’Reilly (streamed live to Alison Coleman via phone!) and a closing crescendo of Wont Get Fooled Again brought the proceedings a close as far as the band were concerned. That left the stage to Roger and Pete to see us out with an emotional rendition of the acoustic Tea and Theatre. Two old men proud and defiant, reminiscing over their pasts.
Without doubt the greatest concert I have been to. The good news is I get to do it all again in Liverpool next Sunday. Will it live up to the hype…?
by Tony Jackson
Wow! what a night, I was transported back to my Mod days in the 1960s. The use of visual reference made it a complete sensory experience. I loved the way the narrative took the audience from the 1950s to present day.
It was a high octane show with energy level that were more like those of twenty year olds. The Who remain the best Rock band in the world.with musicianship that has reached genius level. I first heard them in the 1960s, in Manchester’s Oasis club, at the tender age of 18. I thought they were brilliant then but now they have grown to become exceptional. Appropriate homage and respectful reference to Moon and Entwistle got an emotional response from the intergenerational audience.
I left wishing I could jump on my Li 150 and go to the Twisted Wheel -Anywhere, Anyhow Anyway
by Anthony Green
When the music gives you goosebumps you know you are feeling real music that’s what this show in Manchester did to me.
Me and my girlfriend travelled from Wolverhampton as I am gigging in a band on Friday night the night of The Birmingham show. So we paid stupid money for front row seats from a tout site. So no superstar treatment or nice lithograph just front row seats just under Roger. We have never paid this expensive for a gig before and probably won’t ever again. Roger did throw me a bottle of water which now to most people will just be a plastic bottle, to me it’s something I will always keep.
So was it worth it ? Oh you bet it was worth every penny going through every emotion possible now that’s real music. Fantastic show. I have seen The Who around 5 times over the years including Quadrophinia in Hyde Park. Also Roger doing Tommy. This one was special though with great tributes to Keith and John too. I don’t normally write reviews as you can probably tell, but I can’t stop going on about this gig truly fantastic.
Beg, borrow or steal sell the dog, sell the cat, sell your soul, but do not miss this show its simply stunning. If i had anything left to sell I would travel to Liverpool Sunday but unfortunately I am not a millionaire or any where close. Quadrophonia a way of life for many of us.
MMMM took my own advice and today I have purchased 2 tickets for Liverpool on Sunday night. Block a row B close up again. No lithographs or superstar treatment just tickets once more I’m already excited about this gig. Totally skint now but it’s going to be worth it I just know it is……..
by Andrew Prince
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by Steve Page
Flying Guitars and Parka clad shingle!
A quick and sometimes stuttering performance of Quad full of passion and power, far beyond what anyone could expect from men of Roger’s and Pete’s age. Followed by a sometimes chaotic & more section blessed with the finest live version of “Tea & Theatre” I’ve ever heard.
I won’t attempt an in depth analysis but keep it simple – bloody marvellous! Many memorable moments including a great performance by the crowd of the “Teenage Wasteland” vocal piece as Pete was, how shall we say, “away from the microphone”!
If I wasn’t hallucinating, I’m sure I saw the shingle on the beach wearing parkas, if correctly viewed: a very funny and an almost hidden touch.
by Mike Tomkins
I saw the band launch Quadrophenia at the Lyceum Ballroom in London 40 years ago and have seen them numerous times since all around the world.
The gig demonstrated both their sensational musical talent and raw power as live musicians.
The still blow away every other live rock act on the planet with ease.
An incredible night with the band playing for over two hours flat out.
Congratulations to the supporting musicians who together with Pete and Roger delivered perfect timing with the interactive sets.
Pete and Roger both deserve Knighthoods for their contribution to the music industry and their unwavering support to wonderful charitable causes.
It was an honour to be there.
by Bob Ridgway
Well this would be the 25The time that I had see The Who, including the Isle of Wight and Charlton FC gigs. The last time that I saw them was at the O2 festival in Leeds, a few years ago, so I was really looking forward to seeing Rodger and Pete doing Quadrophenia, especially as the usual critics had given the gigs a positive review instead of the usual ” another sixties band trying to relive their youth” rubbish. Yes but in this case Pete IS reliving his youth and that is the brilliance behind the album. A reflection of the Mod period of the sixties brought together and amalgamated into Jimmy the Mod. There is a relevance of the album theme and lyrics that mirrors the same social problems of the present day that were prevalent in the early 1960′s.
It was soon apparent that The Who as they are now, sadly with just Rodger and Pete surviving but with young enthusiastic and highly skilled set of musicians behind them, are well equipped to give Quadrophenia the live treatment that it has always needed. The Who struggled to bring
Quadrophenia to the stage when it was first released and as Who fan since before Tommy, I was disappointed seeing the (as I think that Pete has gone on record as saying the same about) the 1973 shows, but now with the screens, the tightness of the band the wait has been worth every minute.
The tracks flowed into each other and the tracks were reeled off in what felt like quick succession, until I realised that the next track was 5.15 which had a excellent merging of live and video footage of John Entwistle’s bass solo, which raised the comment by Townsend that HE was the lead guitarist in The Who now John with his “flash git” bass playing, all said with an affection for a lost and lamented band friend. The tracks where Pete had sung on the original album such as “Drowned” did show that his voice has grown weak and somewhat gravelly, BUT his guitar playing is as good now as it ever was, and maybe even better. Again we were treated to a live/video merger with Keith Moon singing “Bellboy” in a mockny cocky accent. I can be corrected but this may have been shot at the Charlton gig and brought a smile to thousands of faces, but then Moon was famous for his outlandish behaviour, which over shadowed his brilliance as a drummer. If you don’t believe me, the go and listen to Underture, The song is over and Pure and Easy for some drumming that is hard to beat.
And then it was all over, with Love Reign o’er Me bringing the set to a close. A 100 mins of a band again at the top of their game. Hopefully the band could do a tour for “Who’s Next” playing another career defining album in full.
After Townsend had thanked Rodger for his work on bringing Quadrophenia to the stage, there was a run through of the greatest hits , You Better Yo Bet, Who are you and a brilliant video accompanying Pinball Wizard, then (in my humble opinion two of the best songs recorded by The Who, Baba O’Riley and Won’t Get Fooled Again, played with all the power and attack that some bands in their 20′s never muster, let along two men pushing 70. Then perhaps it is that Daltrey and Townsend are nearly 70, a wind down into an acoustic Tea & Theatre winds down the gig to its subtle and quiet finale.
After a very long time of being a fan and I make no bones about being over the top in this review, then I have to thank Pete and Rodger for a great gig and many years of pleasure listening them.