by Paul Varey
Quadrophenia. Four faces. And, for me, four concerts – from Madison Square Gardens to Liverpool Echo Arena via New Jersey and Manchester (UK). From Zak Starkey on drums to Scot Devours. Roger and Pete’s banter with the audience at the Prudential Centre in New Jersey, Pete railing against the price of Rolling Stones tickets and Roger refusing to sing till someone at the front shut up! Meeting Simon and then seeing the ‘flying’ guitar in Manchester. The power and aggression of the Liverpool show, it felt like the show would be over in thirty minutes. The genuine affection in Pete’s voice when he talked to the NYC audience. From ‘Behind Blue Eyes’ to ‘You Better You Bet’.
The ‘Quadrophenia and more’ tour isn’t just about the music. It’s about a band reaffirming its place in the rock pantheon and connecting with its audience on a primal level. Fire, aggression and the unexpected have replaced the technical mishaps and theatricality of previous Quadrophenia tours. The Who’s set has been organised in such a way that, although there are click tracks, the band are not ruled by them. Pete can jam when he feels like it. Equally Roger can do some vocal improvisation or add a bit of harp. This isn’t some distant band performing a predetermined show, it’s rock at its primal best. As Pete said to the audience in Liverpool ‘You are the Sea’. And ‘the sea’ was stormy and calm, depending on the music made by The Who. Maybe ‘Lifehouse’ isn’t such a difficult concept to understand after all.
There appears to be a genuine bond between the touring band members and Roger and Pete. The smiles on the faces of the band at the end of the Liverpool gig spoke more than words can express, and Pete’s acknowledgement of the part Scot played was great to hear. Pete seems more at ease at the moment, and happy to be on stage, but there is still feeling that he could explode at any second. It’s great to see John and Keith playing a role, in this tour. I’m not ashamed to say that whilst John’s bass solo brought a smile to my face, some of the clips of Keith brought a tear to my eye the first time I saw them. The way Roger and Pete acknowledge the presence of the late greats is filled with genuine fondness and at one point during the Liverpool gig, I was so drawn in that I was expecting Roger to have a word about Keith’s sloppy drumming!
The ‘Quadrophenia and more’ tour has seen The Who return to their brilliant best. Who else could play an album that is more than 20 years old and make it feel fresh and relevant to today? The audience know what’s coming but there is always an air of tension and the feeling that anything could happen.
‘You better you bet’.
by Anthony Green
So having gone to Manchester and having the best seat in the house right in front of Roger on the front row, I managed to sell everything I own to go to the Liverpool gig.
This time I was on the 2nd row underneath Pino. Same fantastic band same fantastic show. Only diffrence was Liverpool were a louder crowd than Manchester. I have no loyalty to either city as I come from Wolverhampton. Just saying how it was.
So, was it worth seeing the same show twice and also seeing Quadrophinia in Hyde Park 1996 and selling eveything I own to see it again ?
You bet it was. Long Live The Who!