We’re in the land of the Fab Four. I’m certain Liverpudlians get tired of that, but it’s pretty important musically. Is there anything bigger? It’s become a very different town over the years, and is still changing. As Roger said tonight, they are also the best singing audience in the UK!
Music history is important, it’s cool to know things that enhance what you know and love, and remind you of events and people/places in your life. As you’ve probably seen, we do run some WHO history before the shows on the big screen. It changes now and then, plus each night we add in the history of this band in this very city. Fun to make that work, and something cool to entertain you when sitting in your seats.
Another small change; we added some music to hear, beyond the normal rock-n-roll playlist. I don’t know how many people will catch it, but we’ve rounded up many of the songs that The WHO have covered over the years, from “Fortune Teller” to “Eyesight to the Blind” and “Young Man Blues.” It makes a great listen to hear these familiar-but-different versions of things.
So – tonight’s show. Well, hard to describe. It was in the Echo Arena – a place Pete has said was aptly named in the past! It’s probably 3x or more the size of the Albert Hall; a good big arena room, perfect for rock concerts.
Roger recalled the time we’d played in a huge circus tent up on the Liverpool Docks flatlands, near the old abandoned factories. It was a great show, sounded cool and the audience loved it. Two shows, in fact, back to back. Pete had even enquired about buying the tent, as it sounded SO good, he’d though it could be used for other shows. Tonight, Pete noted that they weren’t doing those previous shows on a Monday (as we were today.) “Who would go out on a MONDAY??” Pete baited the audience – to huge cheers. They wouldn’t miss this for the world.
And again, veering away from Tommy. As was discussed onstage, Pete and Roger gave various reasons why it’s not as featured as they originally planned. Some of Tommy was played, and things like “1921” that you don’t hear in a normal WHO show. Pete warned that, although they wouldn’t attempt all of Tommy, it “will still be a f’ing mess.” They also slotted in a chunk of Quadrophenia, and of course, the hits.
We’d thought getting away from the unusual nature of the Albert Hall would erase many of the small issues that plagued those shows, despite being successes overall. However, tonight may have taken an even harder course. Pete had seemingly endless problems with his guitar sound. He changed guitars, sometimes mid-song (several times), his pedalboard, and settings on amps. They’d spent some time in rehearsal working on it. He’s just not been satisfied, and that satisfaction brings with it a freedom to let loose and enjoy.
However, not when things aren’t so good. It all caused distraction, which is trouble for any performer. Even until the very end (“Won’t Get Fooled Again”) Pete seemed to be chasing something that never came. Still, he played well, and band did as well, and it was all successful. But it felt a bit uncomfortable at times, especially during “Who Are You”, “My Generation”, and “Pinball Wizard”, songs you’d think they had worked out by now. It happens. Roger even joked the song should be called “Where Am I?”
Before “Love Reign O’er Me”, John Corey opened it with his now-traditional piano solo, which is different each night. He worked in a bit of “Eleanor Rigby”, a rare “quote” of another band’s music.
Tonight, we saw an excellent example of what has been known to the crew for some time – the see-saw effect. When either Pete or Roger is upset, the other rises to occasion and tries to carry the show. When one is down, the other sees it and brings for positive vibes and herculean efforts to make the show great. Never are both of them upset at the same time, to our knowledge! Tonight, with Pete struggling with sounds and gear, Roger seemed as UP as can been, enjoying the night and pulling mightily for it to be a solid experience for everyone. In the end, it was…