Brian Kehew's Backstage Blog

The Who 2017 Tour: The Colosseum, Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, NV, July 29, 2017

Our second time here, as we did a single show about a year back. The Who and Vegas have an interesting relationship. Right before our show here last time, Roger told me “Oh! We’ve been here before, in 1968. We came with Tom Jones to see James Brown. Same old dump, they’ve just tarted it up a bit!” Sounds like a good night out!

Some of you may remember The Vegas Job concert film VHS/DVD from a while back (1999). The band had set up one of the first live-streaming concerts ever done on the web, the true culmination of the Lifehouse story concept. Or so it seemed. Yet when the show started, the servers crashed due to demand, and it was not the success everyone had hoped.

Then, on the evening before the start of the 2002 tour, John Entwistle passed away in his room at the Hard Rock Hotel of an apparent heart attack. Certainly not another good memory of this place and a huge chasm left forever.

I know the band have resisted doing a residency here for years. Yet the offers grew more and more amenable – this band does not do back-to-back shows anymore, there is a day off between each show. Casinos want as many shows as possible. And they wanted the band for a month, at least – maybe more. They relented, and so we are here for six shows over two weeks. Seems workable, and understanding that – even with financial reward – to play in the same place could drive us all stir crazy!

Today we have a VIP-paid sound-check; while the band go over things, paid contributors get in to watch. It was a great affair, with both Rog and Pete cracking jokes with the small crowd, a sign they were in a fine mood. This carried over into the show.

Pete mentioned “if we like it, we might do more” hinting there is more Vegas to come – in the distant future. IF they like it. He then added the “smart ass critics” said they do this as a nostalgia show for the audience, then laughed as he felt hardly no one here was born in time to have true nostalgia for TheWho! “You’re nostalgic only for the last tour!”

Roger admitted they were at the “old folks home for rockers!” – showing their freedom to joke about age that really sets them apart from nearly all other bands of their era.

Some nice surprises tonight: The “minimum requirement” for a professional casino show is about 90 minutes; any less and you’re short-changing the audience, but some casinos don’t mind as people only leave to gamble, eat and drink. They make money! But The Who aimed for a full two-hour show, and ended up playing and talking far too long – almost another 30 minutes beyond the plan! The addition of ‘The Punk and the Godfather’ was quite unexpected, and it shows they are not pandering a “hits only” show for the Vegas people.

Our last show here was unexpectedly stunning, with Pete resurrecting his WGFA knee-slide for the first time in – decades? This show was maybe more fun/funny and certainly enjoyable, yet that last show had strong musical parts this one did not. But I predict as they grow more comfortable with this environment, it will change each night, the experimental Who that can take unexpected trails into the musical woods!

BTW – Zak is tearing it up nightly, tonight wearing the new Who baseball jersey, which I also just bought! Very cool piece of merchandise. Zak is also playing shows in Vegas with his band SSHH – and likely you can catch them too. You’ll see him out front in a reasonably close environment, playing seriously rocking guitar! News to come.

As we’re in the same place for six shows, I’m quite curious what kinds of differing photos can I get each show. I won’t release quite as many, and hope it will not get boring. I’ll find something new to say, maybe, and keep it interesting along the way. Such as . . .

“Our tour this summer is called The Who 2017! Rather clever, right?”


Tonight’s Set List

I Can’t Explain
The Seeker
Who Are You
The Kids Are Alright
I Can See for Miles
My Generation
Behind Blue Eyes
Join Together
You Better You Bet
I’m One
The Punk and the Godfather
The Rock
Love, Reign O’er Me
Eminence Front
Amazing Journey
Pinball Wizard
See Me, Feel Me
Baba O’Riley
Won’t Get Fooled Again