ST. LOUIS – March 26, 2016 – Scottrade Center
This is a great city to visit. While the WHO have not played in St. Louis much recently, there have been nearby shows that take us to stay here. It’s full of good food (BBQ especially) and cool stores here and there. This show has taken some time to reach; it was on our first leg, when Roger’s voice shut down unexpectedly and a week’s worth of Midwest shows were postponed until the Fall. Then, the entire Fall tour was postponed, until now. So many of these ticket holders not only bought back in 2014 (!) they waited until 2016 for the show. It finally happened.
We had a great soundcheck. As Roger proclaimed, “It sounds GREAT in here” – then admitting he didn’t know how it sounded out in the room, but onstage it was pretty wonderful. Not a bad place to make music. Those who can attend soundcheck as part of the VIP seating option, get to see what Roger termed “the most important part of the day”. Here the individual musicians test and change their sound to suit the new room, there’s often a lot of chat, and things are much more informal. While there is a similarity to a WHO show, you may not hear a whole song; just enough to make sure the various parts are balanced and working. Singers and guitarists rarely do a full physical display, as everyone is listening closely, rather than worrying about their notes played. Funny enough, The WHO never used to do soundchecks at all. It started only during this last tour, Quadrophenia and More, as a way to generate money for the Teen Cancer America charity. Coming down and working in the late afternoon meant spending hours just waiting for our start time, but it’s worth it (to Rog and Pete) to make sure thousands of dollars are generated each night for a great cause.
Tonight’s crowd was again lacking on youngsters, but ‘kids that are alright’ were definitely in attendance, just not so many. And women were again present in quantity, but mainly blondes – or currently-blondes?
Pete’s voice was much-recovered since the trouble earlier this week. It was not 100% yet, but it was good in a gruff way. He made it work throughout the show. Of course, talking between numbers is a great part of any WHO show, and it felt good to have the chatter back. No problems tonight, as Pete started a 1:1 conversation with someone loud down front. These are always entertaining, and it didn’t turn nasty; Pete estimated the guy was too young to have been born before one song, yet the “young man” admitted being born in 1963, certainly young enough to be older than any WHO song.
Townshend said the recent visit to Washington DC had done his voice in – it started with an allergy to the blooming cherry blossoms of the Capitol, and progressed into some kind of flu. He noted one gets more allergic to… everything. But as he said “… at least I’m HERE!” While better now, Pete did stop the show for a bit and work on his own ear monitors; he explained on the microphone he needed to get some help and would have to pause for a bit. While he sent for some supplies from his dressing room, Roger filled in: “MY in-ear things are perfect,” Rog explained. “But my EARS are incredibly strange….” Not much we can do there, Rog!
Soon after, Pete was handed one of the “spare” guitars that are rarely used (he’s been alternating recently between the reliable red #4 and a shiny gold one recently.) The new guitar came out, and he stopped in shock… “This guitar MIGHT be ok, but it’s completely… WHITE!” For some unknown reason, he has a problem with playing that color. Alan, the guitar tech, pointed out it had some wood grain showing through (what’s sometimes called a Mary Kaye finish), so he calmed down a little bit before playing ‘Behind Blue Eyes’ flawlessly.
Our man on bass, Pino Palladino, had debuted a new instrument tonight, a beautiful black-and-chrome Music Man bass. It’s a prototype specially made for him, and arrived today to be put into immediate use! It does sound great.
Pete mentioned he thinks St. Louis is a “fabulous” city; he’s not a man prone to lying about such things – he has called a few places “dumps” or worse! He hopes to come back and explore the river and spend time here. For some reason, ‘You Better You Bet’ and ‘Eminence Front’ were particularly BIG with this St. Louis audience. This may indicate a lot of MTV-age people here tonight.
Roger sang the hell out of ‘Love Reign O’er Me’ again tonight. Look for this show on YouTube if you want an example of how well a 72-year-old can still do it. Afterward, he remembered Pete bringing him the song, and what an honor it was to have such gifts created for him to sing. Indeed. At the end of the show, Roger mentioned he thought The WHO songs were the best ones in rock “Well, I would!…” but then admitted he was objective about it too; and maybe right!