Brian Kehew's Backstage Blog

Tommy and More Tour: The SSE Hydro Arena, Glasgow, Scotland, April 7, 2017

A welcome return. Glasgow has been home to many Who shows over the years, and not so long ago, we were right here. This Hydro Arena is a newer location, compared to most, and certainly looks it. It’s highly recognisable from the outside, and inside it’s pretty sleek and modern.

We’ve had The Standard Lamps as the support band for this post-Albert-Hall short tour. They’re easy to work with, great people, and have a catchy twangy rockabilly-meets-rock sound. Each night, they’ve grown more and more welcome by the crowd. They did a few shows in a previous year, so it’s a known quantity and we welcome them along again.

One of the design choices that makes this venue great is the big wall of seemingly vertical seats; the above-floor levels rise sharply, giving the audience a close look at the stage, while offering the performers this great mass of people to see while playing.


Pete’s first comment came right as they walked onstage – “It seems like only yesterday we were here before. (almost true, our tour started here for The Who Hits 50! tour) So glad to be back!”

Not to mention the loud and active audience. I can’t ever imagine having a poor show here. The crowd started on their feet, where the others eventually got there by the end. By far, tonight’s show became the one to beat on this tour leg.

The set list has been quite similar these nights. In rehearsal, Pete suggested they might tweak it a little, but the best thing to do is leave it and get used to it. He said that when he can walk onstage and not think – just forget everything -– that’s when they have the greatest shows. So leaving the set, as is, is better than constantly adjusting it.

When they launched into ‘I Can See For Miles”’ I was reminded of Pete’s interview in NME announcing they’d just recorded “the heaviest song, ever.” Paul McCartney read this, and proceeded to imagine The Beatles doing their heaviest, and created ‘Helter Skelter’. ‘Miles’ has a different sort of heaviness, one of lyric intensity and brooding power – always works live, especially when the powerful middle-8/bridge kicks in!


Pete offered up the next song “for everybody that’s over 65!” and launched into ‘My Generation’.

You think you’d seen it all: during the final windmill strums of ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’, the oddest sight happened. It looked like Pete’s arm was bleeding? Dropping muscles ? No, it was his shirtsleeve, coming out from inside the jacket, ripping and shredding as he played. String, fabric, and fibres emerged until his hand was surrounded; quite easy to see and quite visual. The crowd ate it up, and roared for (a) the ending (b) the dramatic wardrobe malfunction!

Both Roger and Pete went on and on how this crowd, this city, this night had been so good. They loved the performance, no doubt enhanced by the arena itself and the people who came. It’s a good-sounding room (for performers) and a great-looking room (for everybody). Tonight will be remembered.


As they stated just after, they don’t really like the encore “thing” – to pretend to leave, then wait to come out as expected. So they launched into an unplanned number as a True Bonus for this great night, storming through ‘5:15’ . A fine closure to a big night.

Onward . . .


Tonight’s Set List

I Can’t Explain
The Seeker
Who Are You
I Can See For Miles
My Generation (with a snippet of ‘Cry If You Want’)
Join Together
It’s A Boy
The Acid Queen
I’m Free
Amazing Journey
Pinball Wizard
See Me, Feel Me
You Better You Bet
I’m One
The Rock
Love, Reign O’er Me
Baba O’Riley
Won’t Get Fooled Again

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