My first Who show was on December 4, 1979 the night after the horrible tragedy in Cincinnati where 11 people lost their lives when doors opened to the general admission show and a stampede to get in took place.
Since that time I’ve seen these boys almost 30 times around the country and with different members playing different parts, but with Roger and Pete always at the helm. The anticipation has never changed for what the night would bring, this time utilizing a full 48-piece orchestra, mostly local freelance union musicians, to enhance the experience. On the tour they’ve included Katie Jacoby on 1st Violin and Audrey Snyder on Cello – the local players filled the rest.
The band opened with a great selection from the classic rock opera “Tommy” and while things seemed a bit disjointed a few times with their new bandmates, still sounded great. There was a bit of unwanted feedback here and there and the mix was off a bit, but the music and the memories kept the sold out crowd on their feet most of the night.
The middle of the show saw Pete Townshend “Sack” the orchestra to slide into the core of the group, featuring guitarist/backup singer and Pete’s brother Simon Townshend, keyboardist Loren Gold, bassist Jon Button and drummer Zak Starkey, Ringo Starr’s son.
“Substitute” which opened so many shows for years rang true, and an acoustic version of “Won’t Get Fooled Again” was a bit of a different take on the classic. Roger Daltrey and Pete egged the crowd on to sing along and noted that maybe it hasn’t caught on here in the states just yet.
The final set of tunes – as the orchestra made their way back to the stage was from the classic “Quadrophenia” – was my personal favorite, and the band rocked the last 2 pieces of music from that album, “The Rock” “Love Reign O’er Me” wonderfully. The final song of the night, “Baba O’Riley” was the theme track to so many of our lives, saw the crowd do what the boys asked for by singing along at the tops of their lungs.
Arkells from Hamilton, ON opened the show and will return to Buffalo on August 2nd for a big show at Canalside.