Sept. 13, 2016
All day long, it’s been kinda hot in here. Usually indoor arenas are cool places, not this one. A little on the sticky side, too, so we know the band (onstage with thousands of people in the room, hot lights, moving around) will suffer tonight! All we can do is bring out the fans – the moving electric kind.
The room here is VERY wide, which is unusual, nearly twice as wide as any place we play normally. It changes the feel and the view, something to keep things fresh. It’s a cool design, though as you can drive the large trucks right up onto the floor and unload/load. The Forum in Los Angeles is like this, and we wonder why all the stages in the colder/wetter climates don’t design a place that allows the truck to come in out of the cold and wet when loading?
Soundcheck was tough. We have no “audience” of VIPs this time, the charity tickets are not being sold but the band still come in to play and listen. Pete had a real struggle today, nearly an hour of working on guitar sounds – and was NOT happy. Many things were tried, with his team changing amps around, adjusting booster levels, changing guitars. Nothing worked, it all was under par for what he wants to hear – and he is very particular that is be GOOD. That is, it was wrong until the last few minutes, when he found he could make some relatively simple adjustments and suddenly – it was back, everything was ok, we could go on tonight. Phew…
Relay was a nice addition to the setlist, and brought a stomping, funky feel to the set, with some nice organ parts added in by John Corey.
Pete noted that he and Roger had attended the same school, therefore likely had the same training in the German language. “Peter Townshend und Roger Daltrey sprechen Deutsche… Scheiße Deutsche… but Deutsche!” Roger pointed out he was still working on his English!
The always-welcome Quadrophenia medley was strong as usual, and for this crowd “The Rock” was a favorite. Maybe there’s something to that legendary classical and melodic music of this country… “The Rock” is not a WHO hit, per se, but certainly stellar – and my favorite piece to hear each night. Just after, Roger nailed “Love Reign” which brought the first standing ovation of the night.
This odd audio stuff kept plaguing the show off and on, Pete staring back at his amps, and even having one changed out mid-show. (Reminds me of a show on the 2000 tour, when Pete’s amps were changed during a show, and Roger though Pete somehow liked it “having men come out and… handle your equipment!!” And then Pete retorted “Roger, at least I HAVE equipment!” Finally, midway through the set, it worked, the guitar problems were gone – and the results were obvious. Pete really came to life, playing some stellar guitar tonight. Especially on the “Capt. Walker” section of the TOMMY medley, the guitar solos were soaring and perfectly-suited to the acoustics of this cavernous space, bouncing all around the walls. I hope to find some good video online of this someday, or maybe just get an audio mix. It seemed exceptional, to us, at least.
“Won’t Get Fooled Again” had a nice surprise, with Pete sliding on his kness across the stage during the climax scream. We saw this briefly back in The States at the end of the last leg, and didn’t think it would happen again. Maybe it will, maybe it won’t!
These lovely German sites often have incredible structural metal – even when we played Berlin in an old WWII factory once. This is no exception. It gives a hard, angular feeling to the space in a sort of artistic/architectural way. And Tom Kenny’s lights play off the beams and supports in thousands of unexpectedly beautiful patterns! It makes my photos look good, and I can use all the help available…
This crowd was different. Probably the greatest number of permanently-seated people I’ve seen in ages. Whole sections of floor were always down, even to the end when the “big ones” come along to jolt the stubborn out of their seats. Not that it mattered, everyone was enjoying, onstage and off – and the night was certainly a success in many ways.