Brian Kehew's Backstage Blog

Roger Daltrey: Who Hits, Rarities & Solo Hits: The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, NV, March 7, 2018

Back at it again…

It’s been a few months since we’d done the final shows in Niagara Falls. Roger’s band is back, intact and rested. Roger himself is happy to be here and working again – as we hear his solo album went well and has actually got a song into the Hot 100 charts!

Today we are back at the Hard Rock – the hotel/casino just outside the Las Vegas strip. It’s full of rock and roll history, much like the Hard Rock Café eateries around the globe. You’ll see some of our own history there, Who artefacts and instruments that line the hallways and alcoves of these buildings.

Of course, no one can forget that The Ox, John E passed away in this building back in 2002. It’s not a thought we dwell on as there are many other memories here too. And John certainly had a life well-lived, which is all you can ask of anyone. He is always missed.

Our set-up today was rough. Various small problems continuously came up, on top of a “first day” set-up which adds hours to our normal work. So we’re constantly frustrated, and many of the crew had no time for meal breaks – or we won’t have a show tonight.

Luckily, the team persevered and got things done – even a bit early. Roger and the band came out, discussed what would be played, and started working on the sound. Our longtime monitor engineer, Simon Higgs – is back! He’d left a year ago for supposedly continuous touring with Lady Gaga, but health issues have brought her home and Simon is back with us. It’s a huge comfort, as he’s more experienced than almost everyone onstage, over 20 years of work.

We were more than pleased to see that Leslie Mendelson is back opening for these shows. She’d first come to our attention singing ‘Baba” O’Riley’ with The Who backing band in Shepherd’s Bush a couple of years back. Audiences may not know her yet, but her dark, rich voice and beautifully rich songs are a wonderful way to start each evening on this short tour. I saw her roaming the hallways with none other than Jackson Browne afterward, so she has even bigger fans out there paying attention. Check out her music…!

The Daltrey setlist was not that surprising; they felt it was good to stick to what was done for the last show, and just try to make sure everything sounded and felt as good as it could. Then we will attempt to build new setlists and modify things once we get past the newness of it all.

Roger’s been singing SO WELL in recent times, which defies the odds and all rock and roll traditions! Look for someone to run a video of ‘Giving It All Away’ and you’ll likely be stunned by this beautiful single brought back to life. A nice surprise for most fans, and Roger hits it nearly as well as anyone could!

Roger made some nice comments about ‘Behind Blue Eyes’ – although he did same some days he loves it and some days not! He’d mentioned his favorite dog had been run over and killed the very day he was to sing this song, so the emotion on the record is a real one. He’d been so fond of the dog, who loved to steal ONE shoe from everyone in the village and set them up in a pile for Roger to find!

At the end, Roger crossed the whole front edge of the stage, shaking hands with those who put forth the most for the best seats. Hopefully, this continues to be feasible, because it’s such a nice moment for the audience to actually contact such a legendary performer…

This stage sounds great, and the audience filled the floor to the back, not bad at all for a Wednesday night! Our next show here is the big Saturday night special – so get yourself to Vegas before it sells out.

Meanwhile, we’re here enjoying ourselves and happy to be among The Who family once again… and plans are well underway for the summer shows doing TOMMY with orchestra.


Tonight’s Set List

Pinball Wizard
I Can See for Miles
Another Tricky Day
Behind Blue Eyes
Giving It All Away
Who Are You
Days of Light
Going Mobile
How Many Friends
The Punk and the Godfather
Dreaming From the Waist
Without Your Love
Summertime Blues
Baba O’Riley
Young Man Blues