Brian Kehew's Backstage Blog

The Who Hits 50! Tour: American Airlines Arena, Miami, FL, April 17, 2015

Is it possible this crowd was even wilder than the craziness of Tampa? It seems so . . .

Miami (9)

Miami (11)

The crew always watch the audience during the shows, and tonight was exceptional people-watching. Miami is full of fun and sun, and the crowd was good looking and already mid-party by the time they arrived. A modern Who audience is quite a mixture; there are original fans who may have seen the original band, many of them Pete and Roger’s generation in their late 60s and 70s. There are in-betweeners, in their 30s and 40s who are classic rock fans, or may have come to learn about The Who during their reunion shows and The Kids Are Alright film, maybe even the CSI show themes that feature Who tracks. Even younger, many are bringing their kids for the first time – the generation that grew up not with radio or MTV, but YouTube. Speaking of…

Miami (12)
Miami (2)
Miami (3)

Tonight Pete mentioned YouTube as the place to experience “the best Who performance” during The Rolling Stones’ Rock and Roll Circus from 1968. The ‘mini-opera’ ‘A Quick One While He’s Away’ was featured there, and has gathered quite a following over the years via YouTube views. The song is a fan favorite, and many thought they’d never see it live, as it was never performed regularly. Obviously, the current version isn’t nearly as wild as the original, but still has the sense of fun and humour that made the original so great – not many of the legendary rock bands are so unafraid to be fun and silly. It doesn’t have the widespread recognition or punch of the rest of the set – but it is a great reward as well as a tip of the hat to the extreme powers of the original band.

Nicko McBrain, longtime drummer of Iron Maiden, is an old friend of Zak Starkey and was visiting today; he could be seen on the side of the stage for most of the show.

Miami (10)

As happens now and then, Roger found pot smoke wafting up from the front rows. He implored them to stop and “eat it instead” as he’s seriously allergic and it has caused him to pull out of shows early due to the reaction. Be forewarned, all front-section ticket holders…

As Pete mentioned tonight, he loves areas near the water, a true sailor at heart. Miami fits the bill perfectly. Pete noted that the first time he was paid to use one of his songs for TV licensing was Miami Vice, where they featured ‘Eminence Front’, which they played just after. ‘Eminence Front’ was The Who’s biggest hit in the days of MTV, especially in the USA.

CSI Miami, of course, has ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’ as its theme.

With the show growing in crowd-band intensity nearly every minute toward the end, Pete and Roger showed a lot more spark, running and leaping as they did many years back. It truly is a wonderful cycle to see; the band inspired by the crowd, the crowd responding to the band’s added energy, and so on. ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’ stormed in high on the burst gained during ‘Baba O’Riley’, and it seemed as if it would become one of the wildest ‘WGFA’ performances in the last decade. But just at the organ/synth break, the backing track stopped on a glitch, and the band were unaware what had happened. Instantly, Pete dropped into an improvised guitar part, and the usual drum break/Roger scream and “Meet the new boss . . .” was skipped entirely. I think neither the band or audience noticed a clear difference, as it seemed just like part of The Who’s natural improvisation, those changes we see almost every night. With Pete moving forward, everyone followed along, and somehow it ended on a unique ending that may never be done again!


Tonight’s Set List

I Can’t Explain
The Seeker
Who Are You
The Kids Are Alright
I Can See for Miles
Pictures of Lily
My Generation
Magic Bus
Behind Blue Eyes
Join Together
You Better You Bet
I’m One
Love, Reign O’er Me
Eminence Front
A Quick One (While He’s Away)
Amazing Journey
Pinball Wizard
See Me, Feel Me
Baba O’Riley
Won’t Get Fooled Again




1 thought on “The Who Hits 50! Tour: American Airlines Arena, Miami, FL, April 17, 2015”

  1. Roop says:

    Really good insight into the stuff us punters are unaware of. Many Thanks.

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