Brian Kehew's Backstage Blog

The Who Hits 50! Tour: PNC Arena, Raleigh, NC, April 21, 2015


Our fourth amazing crowd in a row!?

Since the 2000-2004 tours well over ten years back, these are the most consistently loud and enthusiastic crowds we’ve seen in some time. Portions of the touring business have fallen off for some bands in recent years, but this year is a really good one for audiences and The Who.


. . . and also for Joan Jett! A crowd favorite from the moment she hops onstage. Her energy is infectious and, like The Who, she truly seems to belong on a stage, doing what she does. When our pre-show slides mention her recent inauguration into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, it gets a HUGE roar and cheer from the just-settling audience.

Raleigh is not one of the legendary hubs of rock music, but it’s always a great place to play. Maybe the green beauty of the hills all around keeps everyone happier, and positive when they come to see shows? Regardless, the place in general has a wonderful calmness that contrasts wildly with the boisterous fans who come out.

NC Governor Pat McCrory was in the house for the show, pleasant and willing to stop for photos with the fans.

Notable change in the show: no ‘Substitute’ tonight, and ‘Squeeze Box’ was added later in the set. Both songs start with an ‘S’ so easily done! This moved up ‘Who Are You’ closer to the front, the first real song to drag everyone up from their seats. Roger has proposed opening with ‘Who Are You’ which would certainly be a nice change, and start things with a bang, as did the Concert for NY 9/11 event!

One thing we’re noticing; almost every show is put up onto YouTube from audience phones. This is normal and to be expected. Sometimes within an hour or two you can catch the major songs of each show online, and within a few days we see most of the set up there. However, to the “regulars” in the audience and on our crew, the highlight of each night is usually the Rog and Pete chatter between songs. That’s when the “gold” really drops, the unexpected and the revelations about deeper song meanings, about things then and now. There is often some good-natured verbal sparring between Pete and Rog, or trying to leap higher than the other’s last joke. Watch for these moments yourself, and share those bits: We already have enough video of ‘Baba O’Riley’ worldwide to last several lifetimes! The chat and patter are not likely to be repeated ever again.

Excellent bass solo from Pino tonight on ‘My Generation’ . . . his tone and playing are coming out a bit more this year.

Once again, Roger seems to be going for a world record of “and you, and you, and you” at the ending of ‘Listening to You’. We haven’t counted them yet, but we will someday!

By the way – there are about 39 “join-together’s” sung during the song called ‘Join Together’ (we counted.) ‘Magic Bus’ – we’ll count that one next. How much is “too much”?

Sudden audience roar at one point mid-song: Pete pulled his guitar up mid-song, as it wasn’t “behaving”, and people anticipated a guitar smash! But no, just a quick changeover to another. Hint- if it’s his favorite #4 red Stratocaster – that one won’t be smashed. Plus, it usually behaves very nicely.


At one point during ‘You Better You Bet’, Roger wandered over into The Forbidden Zone; across behind Pete to the audience on the far right. Oddly, it’s not really forbidden; he’s just never done that before that anyone can recall. Here comes a new thing.

“. . . and here’s another old one, haha! They’re ALL f***ing old !!!” Mr. Townshend had promised not to swear at all during this tour. Each night he’s forgotten that concept at some point, but usually makes a note that he will do better in the future…

At the end, Pete felt this was their best show of the US tour so far so, Raleigh, thank you! Feeling very welcome on this tour leg, with apparently many satisfied customers.

Onward . . .


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
Squeeze Box
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




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