Brian Kehew's Backstage Blog

Hard Rock Live, Hollywood, Florida – November 1, 2017

Seems familiar – and it is. The Hard Rock Cafe, well-known for its musical restaurants around the world, has a set of hotels – and those hotels have music venues. So – for the second time – Roger Daltrey and band are back here at the Hard Rock Live stage. We are entertaining local people and vacationers from the colder regions up north (as well as some of the regular Who faithfuls who follow us around to nearly every show we play – they are here, too.)

I always look around these Hard Rock locations to see what Who-related stuff they have; there’s always something. In this case, not so much of what I expected, but in the big restaurant is one of John’s legendary ‘Buzzard’ basses – very few made and certainly distinctive. Plus, right next to it, one of John’s earlier shirts, as he did have many cool stage outfits over the years.

There’s also an advertisement in the venue and hotel – they do a good job promoting these shows, which is quite helpful as these are pretty big venues (several thousand people.) The place was pretty full, with Who fans in their shirts, local rockers – and gamblers given ‘comp’ tickets to encourage and reward their big-money spending habits! As Tommy says… “Welcome!”

The show is similar to the last one. Roger did plan to change more from night to night, but we barely felt comfortable on the last one. So a very similar setlist to before. Roger mentioned ‘Another Tricky Day’ was dedicated “for all the people confused by it all” with modern politics and other news.

And yet another introduction to ‘Giving It All Away’ – as he told us that record was done while Pete was away writing Quadrophenia, and Rog needed something to do – his solo album. He again mentioned Leo Sayer working in his studio and commented that it was “a shitty studio, really, but it made some great records!” Agreed. (Not long ago, Roger’s mixing board from that studio was sold somewhere for BIG bucks!)

‘How Many Friends’ is yet another rare Who song, and Roger felt the song had really grown into its life at this very time: What he calls ‘anti-social media’ for it keeping people in false contact, less personal interaction, people on their iPhones at dinner. He sees the lyrics of the song being especially appropriate in today’s world of Facebook and ‘friends’ online, versus the kind you really can count on. For a song from 1974/75, it’s matured very well, and is now a powerful anthem when played live.

‘Getting In Tune’ is another Who gem tonight, rarely heard live in recent decades. Toward the end of the set, Roger called for something they’d tried in rehearsal but never added to a show, until now. ‘Blueberry Hill’ was banged out, in honor of dear Fats Domino – and it sounded great with this band and singer taking it on.

The audience was off and on, with really no clear message as to what they liked (sometimes they stood up on unpopular songs or sat down on popular ones) but toward the end, everyone was in the mood, and happily up and energized for ‘Baba’ and ‘Young Man Blues.’

For a closer – Roger picked out ‘Naked Eye’ – another we had not planned to play tonight. His last tune was a quiet one, which we also added to the end of the first show; ‘Always Heading Home’ is a new one Roger has co-written. It’s an INCREDIBLE song, powerful and emotional, played with just piano and bass. Someday it will be released, but after the show, everyone commented on it. It’s a winner, for sure.

On my way back to my room, I ran into a couple in the elevator, headed to sleep after the big show. They were saying they’d seen Roger with The Who years ago, and felt his voice was much stronger than it had been then – rare for a man of this heavy singing to actually improve over time, but it seems it’s happening!

More to come, one more in Florida,then two in Niagara Falls, so –

Onward . . .

SETLIST

Overture
It’s a Boy
Pinball Wizard
I Can See for Miles
Behind Blue Eyes
Giving It All Away
Another Tricky Day
Athena
Who Are You
Days of Light
Going Mobile
How Many Friends
It’s Not Enough
Getting in Tune
Without Your Love
Blueberry Hill
Summertime Blues
Baba O’Riley
Young Man Blues
Naked Eye
Always Heading Home