Brian Kehew's Backstage Blog

The Who Hits Back! Tour: Honda Center, Anaheim, CA, 28 October 2022

The Honda Center (formerly “the Pond”) is not far from Disneyland. Same general area, Anaheim is only less than an hour from L.A. – unless you’re trying to drive here on weekend rush-hour traffic as many are tonight!

We’ve been here before, and it’s yet another hockey/basketball area – our basic platform for most of this tour leg. For some reason, it’s a sunny Southern California day but it’s FREEZING inside. While the early crew come in, they fight the arctic temperatures and we push hard to get the local people to warm it up – likely trying to keep the ice frozen underneath the floorboards here. It takes most of the day, but it eventually warms up.

Roger comes out in a sporty, casual look. And Pete – runs out wrapped in a thin red shawl that flies out behind him like wings or a witch’s cape! He does a full arc across the stage and back, eventually dropping the red thing onto his amps behind. “I wore it because I was cold!” Pete is feeling what we had endured all day. 100% different way to start a Who show, for sure. We’re almost at Hallowe’en, so it almost feels appropriate.

PT, the Caped Crusader

Video courtesy of Radio KAJW 

Into Tommy, of course. It’s nice during the heavy guitar chords just after ‘Amazing Journey’ – there’s that intensity from the Live At Leeds era. The part of music is really derived from Captain Walker, but like all operas, pieces come and go in fragments within other songs. Pete’s doing some small leaps in ‘Sparks’, also quite unusual, but a good sign he’s enjoying it. Today the band worked on ‘Pinball Wizard’ a bit – it’s been less-than-solid almost every night. So today was some work on re-balancing what they hear in their monitors, and what to concentrate on to make it happen. Tonight – it’s better, much better, but still not quite there yet.

Horn player Dylan Hart

Pete instructs the audience that orchestras can indeed be louder than a rock band. True – their percussion are as loud as rock drums and brass (especially) are incredibly bright and loud. He’s impressed by the calibre of musicians in this area: Indeed, they are really strong. This particular team have been hired for two shows – this one and the coming Hollywood Bowl. We’re pleased to see Dylan Hart in the orchestra – he was one of our two horn players on the Quadrophenia and More tour years ago – good guy and great player. He’s here with his wife, also in the same horn line. Pete mentions that the musicians work on scoring for film, television, etc which really brings out the good players. His father had been such a musician, he recalls, but liked English beer and curry (Indian food, both so common in England) so he never came here to do film work. Now, both are common here, but decades later . . .

Video courtesy of Radio KAJW 

‘Another Tricky Day’ – well, we’ve had a few. Roger agrees it’s the perfect song for these times. He wishes we had more good news, and we will get it eventually. “It will come . . .”

‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’ hits hard, but is a little unsteady here and there. No matter – this is always a winner when it appears suddenly here in the middle of the show. Odd, as it used to be such a closing number, but it’s always one of the best moments in any Who gig. At the end, Pete explains some of the problems “There’s a fucking echo in this fucking place!” Yeah, we heard it at soundcheck but hoped it would disappear when people filled the arena.

When Pete introduces the band nightly, and has often joked with cellist Audrey about her “viola”, then changed it to a “banjo”. So our highly creative Video Crew made special stickers AND T-shirts for Audrey’s BANJO performances. Great work, looks just like the Shepard Fairey style and with some great inside jokes added.

So twice tonight, we see the so-called “birdman” pose that Pete used to do in the olden days, with both arms outstretched to the sides like he’s flying. It’s unexpected and not at all in the usual places – when the peak of the show used to happen, like the power chord in ‘Sparks’. Both of these moments happened when Simon Townshend was to take over the guitar section during a song, as in ‘Overture’ and ‘The Rock’ tonight. And while Simon played away, Pete stretched his arms out both times. Interesting. Hmmm . . .

Video courtesy of Xpensivewino69

At the end of it all, Pete mentions they’d had some issues and Roger has been singing SO well; it’s what most of our fans have been talking about. “Roger’s been singing great!” He proclaims, “He’s IMMENSE!” Nice.

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