Brian Kehew's Backstage Blog

Avalon Ballroom Theatre at Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort, ON – November 8, 2017

OK – this is it, for a while, and the 117th Backstage Blog post.

This last post has taken me a bit longer to get done – partly as we wound up a LOT of touring since 2015 and had to sort and ship all our gear to various parts of the world where it may end up. Partly because we headed HOME ourselves to return to normal (non-tour) life and things like families, laundry, cats/dogs, cleaning house – and sleep! So, here it goes:

Our final show of this tour Roger has jokingly called A Quick Run While Pete’s Away! Clever.

“…While Pete’s Away” refers to PT’s planned enforcement of no new work for a full year – at least. We have just finished The Who’s South America run and deserve a break, but this was a short two weeks and all the gear was already together and ready to move, so people can follow it easily. Half a dozen or so shows, and then – the big break.

Our last show here was not magic. Just two days ago, we barely got through it. Good results, but a very trying day for everyone. This one – smooth as can be – given that this is not one of those “everything is predictable” shows others do. The crowd was as good or better than the previous, and our own feeling was one of something special – as we knew it was out last show for some time.

Roger talked about the band being a singles group in the ’60s and surprised us all by throwing out an acapella version of ‘Happy Jack’! Nice – maybe next time we’ll do it for real??

‘Giving It All Away’ was just stunning. I’d recently watched a video (above) of young Rog with young Leo Sayer doing it together in 1984 – ten years after they’d first put it down on record. This version was SO strong, especially as Roger’s four decades beyond that original version. Amazing. I wish I could find bootleg video – if anyone has one from this show – toss it on to YouTube; we wouldn’t mind it!

‘Days of Light’ is probably the least-known song of the set, but Roger loves doing it; he wrote it and it depicts a lifestyle for the blue collar worker. When he was young, he explains, he did four years as a sheet metal worker. The factory made cases for early computers. He says the computers were crap, but the sheet metal was good! They sang all day long in the factory, maybe great training ground for a gentleman who needs to sing loudly onstage for the next 50+ years? ‘Days of Light’ talks about the amazing feeling at the end of the week, when “48 hours of fun” comes along. Virtually everyone knows that feeling of freedom.

Again, compliments to Fats Domino and Eddie Cochran as we had ‘Blueberry Hill’ and ‘Summertime Blues’ in the set. Those odd Who songs we’ve been doing have remained, maybe for the last time onstage, we’ll see.

Thanks again to William Snyder for some great pics to supplement my own here.

And so it ends. Maybe? All we know is, there is nothing planned for a while in Who-land. There may always be a special charity event, a need or want for a one-off show. But this is the band that did indeed stay away for a big chunk of its career – so who knows. I look forward to more of something, whether it is Daltrey onstage, Townshend onstage, or Simon or Zak or our other guys doing their things – it’s all part of the big story. Keep an eye out. 

This may be farewell for now (Remember the 1982 Farewell tour; that was certainly not a “goodbye forever” meaning.)

See you out there.

Onward . . .