The Who at Leeds - First Direct Arena

The Who Setlist First Direct Arena, Leeds, England 2014, The Who Hits 50!

 

 

Press

The Yorkshire Post
Leeds In News
Yorkshire Evening Post

 

Soundcheck review by Horace Austin

Lasted 50 minutes.

About 75 fans in attendance.

All band members present.

No flash photography allowed.

"So Sad About Us" - This was soundchecked as we were escorted in.

"Slip Kid" - "'Slip Kid' needs to be tighter. There are so many slack elements on the surface. It needs to be tighter." - Pete

"Cry If You Want"

"Magic Bus" - Included a lengthy discussion about when the harmonica solo is supposed to come in and where the song is supposed to go after that.

"Who Are You"

"My Generation" - Not soundchecked. Just a discussion on whether or not to do it tonight since it wasn't played at Glasgow.

"Eminence Front" - Zak played kind of an odd fill before the drums are supposed to come in. Pete waved his hand in the air to stop the song. He turned around to Zak and said, "Let's not do that." Then they started over.

Pete to the fans: "Why would you pay to see a soundcheck?"

Fan: "Because we love you!"

Pete: "We're glad, because the money is going to charity."

 

Review by Wendy Reynolds

Should be on prescription

After a fairly awful few months of chronic illness (I won't bore you with the detail but I ended up in a wheelchair on oxygen), I was worried I wouldn't make it to The Who gig at Leeds Arena. Other than hospital visits I hadn't been out for months but Bruce (my other half) who's seen them over 40 times refused to go alone. I was concerned about coping without oxygen inside the gig, however I needn't have worried. From the first chord I was hooked and completely distracted. This was my third Who gig and definitely my favourite. They were ballsy and full of energy and the atmosphere was charged. It was the second night of the tour and there were a few mistakes here and there but they only added to the grit of the show. It gave the evening an edge and rawness, you never knew what was coming next. As Pete said it was a 'pot pourri' and they had a 'decide on the night attitude' to which songs went in the set. There were a couple of spine tingling moments for me which really made the evening extra special, Cry if you want and Eminence Front. How Pete doesn't need daily osteopathy I'll never know. His shoulder looks on the verge of dislocating with every swing. 50 years on, these aren't two pensioners. On stage they're still as vital and vibrant as ever, dare I say even sexy?

Six hours later I was outside again feeling energised and better than I had all year. Since then I'm improving every day, The Who should be available on the NHS.

Prescription:
THE WHO
Apply every day as needed
Strength: 1 million decibels

 

Review by Simon Nicholl

And so to my match report for last night’s show at the 12,000 seat bowl-like Leeds Arena. Well, how much could have changed in the 46 hours since the Glasgow show? Well, the mood seemed a little more relaxed or low-key in some way, or maybe that was my perception because I thought that I knew what was coming!

[The setlist] all present and correct as per the first show, minus the ‘Naked Eye’ encore. As per that first show, there were a few fluffs from both Rog and Pete. On one occasion (and the song escapes me, I think it may have been ‘Teenage W-‘ sorry, ‘Baba O.’) Pete was bringing his hand down to begin a solo and Rog sang a line which PT clearly believed to be in the wrong place and gave his partner an exasperated and confused look: Rog was oblivious to this as he was concentrating so hard trying to do his thing. Pete looked across to both Pino and Si for reassurance/confirmation that he was right but they didn’t give much away!

To even things up, there were a couple of times when Pete left Rog staring because he wasn’t at the mic singing when expected: again I can’t be sure but I think it was ‘Join Together’ that went into the 12 “ version, hah-hah! There was plenty of humour though amongst it all. For instance, Rog decried Pete’s choice of trouser (navy blue sweatpants again) and the reply was that “…there’s nothing wrong with these trousers…they give me freedom which I like!”. Cue much guffawing!

You know Pete’s technique of hammering his scratchplate and the strings with his fist? Well, he let us know that that was his death metal move and before the next song that would be employing it he then demonstrated what he meant. Rog immediately said that it was no wonder that his guitar’s always out of tune to which Pete replied in a mock-wounded fashion that “no it is not! And I’ll have you know that Mark Knopfler no less said that I have lovely intonation…”. Again there was a lot of laughing up there!

Worth mentioning that his playing at times was on another plane altogether: it may have been '5.15' where it was astounding. No other word for it. The downside from these delays (some of which are unavoidable and some are funny) is that the guys are losing a bit of momentum sometimes with the amount of time it takes to get the next song started: if they occasionally went bang! With another number it raises the levels again. The one benefit of the gaps last night was the amount of calls and shouts from the audience which Pete clearly heard. One guy bellowing repeatedly for ‘Pure And Easy’ was told that yes they had rehearsed it, but no it wasn’t on tonight’s setlist, so he would have to buy another ticket to another show if he wanted to hear it!

Pete said to Rog that they received a lot of messages from the audience which Rog never hears because of his in-ear monitors. In the next breath he let us know that most of them were “…fucking gibberish.”, followed by a pause for comedic effect. I see what PT means when he says that he finds being onstage easy: all these asides come naturally to him and we know that he is affectionate in his hatred, hah-hah! Having said that, after they finished the ‘A Quick One’ selection, Pete wondered aloud if the song-cycle was really about sexual abuse and if it was, should the protagonist be forgiven? His considered and serious answer was “…I’m not so sure.” So, not all comedy then…

As happened at the Quad show that I saw in Manchester last June, a lot of the people in the centre floor blocks wanted to remain seated. You also had an inordinate number of ‘tourists’ who were up and down for drinks and bladder-relief constantly, as well as other folk from seats behind wandering into the aisles in order to get closer to the band. In a word, it was a tad chaotic at times. I still stood and sang my cojones off for the 2 hours and 20 minutes though, hah-hah!

There was no encore: I almost agree with Rog when he gives it the full Luddite treatment and says that the tradition of them is showbiz bs. Having said that, I could have suffered another stab at ‘Naked Eye’ even if I did have an 80 mile drive home. Yeah, boo-hoo me, right?

After ‘WGFA’ Pete lead the band intros and made a point of thanking the road crew too. When he came to Frank Simes, PT introduced him as the tour’s musical director, before pausing again for effect and delivering the aside to us that “… that means he just does what I tell him, hah-hah!”. Funny man. As I said earlier, the band seemed more relaxed than they were at Glasgow- is this a case of a bit of nervous tension even at this late stage of the game? I’m just guessing of course: I’d love to sit in on any post-show debriefs… I really do feel for Rog because he clearly is not happy with what he is (or not) hearing up on that stage. It seems that there is considerable temperamental technology employed in The Who’s stage set-up: gone are the days of merely ‘kicking the tyres and lighting the fires’.

Apart from Rog’s problems, there were a couple of times when Pete didn’t get the required sound from his guitar which necessitated hitting the ‘Rogan button’ once or twice. Worth mentioning though that he was plenty loud enough from 6 rows back on his side!

Both he and Pete are proud performers when you strip everything else away and they get annoyed when outside factors get in the way, naturally.

In summary (cue clapping and cheering, I’m sure…) if you’re in doubt whether you should see these guys then just go. I know tickets are not cheap but when this tour ends that may well be where this all stops. And by the time this tour wings near to you, there is every chance that they might have learned the songs by then, hah-hah! In case anyone is in doubt, yes I do love this band and have been lucky to enjoy seeing them around 30 times: if you think I’m a little harsh on them, it’s because they mean a lot. Until the next time…

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