Brian Kehew's Backstage Blog

The Who Hits Back! Tour: Enterprise Center, St. Louis, MO, 14 October 2022

St. Louis, tonight! This is a comfortable town, and always welcoming. Missouri has the nickname the “Show Me State” . . . whatever that meant once upon a time. So, we think that can work for tonight, too.

We have an easier day here, simply for the fact that there aren’t as many people – like guests – to deal with. The focus will be on the show, rather than mixing with social things. And another change is here.

After our first shows with the Stephen Page Trio, tonight we are welcoming a new support act. Mike Campbell, core member of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and recently of Fleetwood Mac. He brings along his band, called the Dirty Knobs, most-likely a guitar reference, although I’m sure they know it means something else in the UK!

That’s exciting and yet brings a challenge; they are a larger group and our stage is packed! We always do our own soundcheck to get things right – then we abdicate the stage and let the opening act set up. Insome cases with minimal effect. But for a larger group, we might have to move and unplug stuff, only to return it and reconnect it later; ideally without issues.

Still, we work with their crew to sort out what’s needed and there’s just enough room for them to setup and play. The audience loves it, as Mike brings a familiar sound of traditional rock, and everyone comments he sings a lot like his longtime bandmate, Tom Petty. Since they grew up and spent their lives together – there’s a familiar ground here for the audience. And besides his own tunes, Mike’s happy to insert a few of their Heartbreakers songs into the set. A great start to a night.

‘Running Down A Dream’ – Mike Campbell and the Dirty Knobs. Video courtsey of djruden 

The Who comes out and Pete starts right in; “It doesn’t feel so long since we were here last. So thank you for coming to see us again . . .”

Our Tommy set starts well, and the audience is quieter than most, at first. But they are attentive and excited. It sounds great in here, a nice blend and not too much echo.

Roger announces later, “Well, we’re not in a box yet!” Proud to be out and doing their thing. “That’s about all of Tommy we can squeeze in there tonight. And it’s off to other hits and things.”

After ‘Who Are You’ Roger announces “I’m retraining.” He’s very chatty tonight. Pete answers “That sounds exciting!” certainly most curious about this new idea. “I’m going to work in a supermarket” Well, you heard it here first, so watch for Roger in your local grocery maybe.

After the orchestra leaves, we have the band set. We have seven songs coming up as Roger or Pete have suggested new additions; it was pointed out how many more songs we’ve added since the start and the show is getting longer. One song came out (guess which?) to put in two more. ‘You Better You Bet’ and ‘The Seeker’ are now along for the ride. We are strongly going over two hours at every show. Not bad.

‘The Seeker’. Video from up in the gods courtesy of Andrew Dodds 

Both went over great, as good examples of Who classics in different decades. Ten years apart, and very different styles and each a fine example of The Who.

Pete talked again about writing ‘The Seeker’ in the USA with his friend Tom Wright, and also that the next one, ‘Naked Eye’, was also written here onstage, and then formalized into a recording later – but he couldn’t remember which record it was on. He asked Roger who put forth his idea – but both of them seemed to not know it. (Odds and Sods, someone yelled from the crowd – probably more than one!) It seems strange, but many artists don’t know their whole career in detail like their fans . They often make something new then move on.

Tonight we learned something. Introducing ‘Behind Blue Eyes’, they were discussing the string trio and Pete mentioned Audrey’s viola – for the third or fourth time he’d said that this tour. (A viola is much smaller than a cello, very similar to a violin.) It seemed odd that Pete had been saying so, as he obviously knows his orchestral instrumentation! But he joked that her cello looked like an upgraded, bigger viola. Ah!

Then he asks Roger if he’d ever been told by his grandfather, “Are you still playing that banjo?” Roger shook his head, no. Pete said that he did have that talk with his grandfather – but he said “It’s NOT a banjo, it’s a f-ing guitar!!”

‘The Rock’ is great, just one of the best versions I can recall, of many. Since ‘Love Reign O’er me’ is up next, many would be interested to know he’s not GONE during ‘The Rock’; he loves it and waits for the next big song by drinking his tea and still rocking out upstage from the action. ‘Love Reign O’er Me’ is again so strong. It’s nice when the Big Ones really do come in on-target every night. And then ‘Baba O’Riley’ and out!

‘Baba O’Riley’ and out! Video courtesy of Richard Graves 

This crowd had started off fairly quiet. Then as the show got to the end, they were really wild and crazy. I guess the “show me” had worked out, because they really were loud compared to others, at the end that counts!

During the show Pete had mentioned they were playing one of these songs 60 years ago in a band together. That’s amazing, and it’s Pretty Damn Good how well they still do it!

Onward . . .


With Orchestra
Amazing Journey
Pinball Wizard
We’re Not Gonna Take It
Who Are You
Eminence Front
Ball and Chain

Band Only
You Better You Bet
The Seeker
Naked Eye
Another Tricky Day
Won’t Get Fooled Again
Behind Blue Eyes

With Orchestra
The Real Me
I’m One
The Rock
Love, Reign O’er Me
Baba O’Riley