The Who at Los Angeles - Who Cares benefit

 

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Review by Ron Cianciaruso

Deep within the neighborhood of Pacific Palisades in a private yard complete with stage and sound crew the WHO treated charity supporters to a wonderful small venue concert. There was no stadium, no thousands of people, no video screens, just The WHO with their instruments and passion to help those in need.

The sound was reminiscent of their early days before they played huge arenas and they seemed to be equally as loose during this event only making sure we had fun. Roger commented several times the crowd singing was excellent tonight and he and Pete played to the crowd the entire time. The front rail was a familiar collection of WHO Friends and Family all there to support the band in any way possible. The rest of the crowd was hugely supportive and consumed by the music in this quiet L.A. neighborhood.

Joan Jett opened the night with a blistering set and then Eddie Vedder performed solo with help from Simon Townshend on his last song. David Spade made the crowd laugh and Howie Mandel was beautiful in his wit and desire to help raise money. Side stage were Adam Sandler, Dustin Hoffman, David Foster and many others. It was a magical night capped by WHO classics. The sound stage was less than optimal but it did not matter.. everyone was there for one reason.... for the kids !!!! Enjoy - Ron Cianciaruso

 

Review by Stephen Voyce

The Who Cares event was held 5/31/16 in Pacific Palisades, CA at a private residence. It was truly a once-in-a-lifetime event. The grounds were magnificent and there was an amazing setup for food and drinks of all varieties. Clearly, the organizers of the event have had experience with this type of thing and were able to accrue an impressive array of sponsors! Approximately 650 guests were invited.

Oh, did I mention there was musical entertainment?

Joan Jett and her band opened the show w a rapid-fire run through of her biggest hits. Joan always plays with ferocity and today was no exception. She started w Bad reputation and she and her band channeled the spirit of punk music over the next 30-45 minutes. My personal favorite was “Light of Day” and she introduced it as the title song from her movie w Michael J Fox and written by Bruce Springsteen. She then delivered a blistering version of the tune. Her intro to “Do Ya Wanna Touch Me” always brings a smile. “You know, love between two people can be a beautiful thing but love between THREE people can be even better…Especially if one of them IS ME!” Joan delivers a set that is worthy of a headliner any other night!

David Spade then took the stage for his standup comedy routine. His set can be generously characterized as incredibly mediocre. There were a few chuckles but at best I would grade him as a C-. I do enjoy his films like Joe Dirt and Tommy Boy but he seemed lackluster and I got the impression he was “mailing in” his performance.  David, you are on the stage with several performing legends! You have got to bring you’re A game! The best line of his performance was when he introduced Eddie Vedder as a “stud”.

The road crew put out the setup for Eddie’s section of the show: a few ukuleles, a couple acoustic guitars, mics, a stool and a circular carpet with fringed edges. I recall the fringed edges because the crew then meticulously combed out the edges to straight perfection using Afro picks. I have never seen that before and several members in the audience commented on it.

Eddie then delivered a heartfelt set of acoustic tunes. He can exude up such emotion with his voice and his delivery that it was a perfect set between Joan Jett and the WHO. Two highlights were Simon Townshend taking the stage for a duet of Simon’s solo song “I’m The Answer” which Eddie commented upon, “It was a mainstay on his turntable.” Pete Townshend was standing alongside the stage watching the performance intently and nodding along. Later, during the WHO’s set, Pete commented on the song and that it “should’ve been a massive hit.” After hearing this duet, I’m hoping a recording of it is released. I know I would buy it and I believe Pete’s prophecy would become fact.
Eddie closed his set with “Ukulele Anthem”, a cover of the Amanda Palmer song. Now, full disclosure, I did not know the song beforehand but Eddie delivered the quirky lyrics w such passion and I enjoyed the bizarre references in the song so much…that I looked it up on my way home from the show and have listened to it several times since. I do love Eddie’s version and hope it will be available for all to hear and appreciate.

An auction then “broke out”.  Howie Mandel was the lead auctioneer and a curious choice at that. His comedic wit is excellent and he was very funny during the auction. His rapid-fire comments  and semi-manic “flight-of-ideas” style caused the auction to go on way too long. To be fair to Howie, the items were magnificent (guitar signed by the Eagles, including Glenn Frey; A guitar signed by all members of CREAM, etc.) and the bids ratcheted higher and higher. The starting point was far too low for items that eventually netted bids of $25K and $35K respectively. After a while, the host of the event and Howie got things moving along at a brisker pace. Paul Stanley of KISS came on stage during the auction for the bidding on “A day with KISS” including arriving at the rehearsals and basically spending a day with the band and receiving signed instruments from each band member (2 guitars, a bass, and a drum). He was in his usual full KISS BRAVADO stating “the most gold albums by any band”. Howie was hilarious when he asked “In the morning, do you recognize yourself in the mirror when you’re not wearing makeup?”

Sugar Ray Leonard came on stage to auction off “A Day With Sugar Ray”. Hanging out with him at his home, some boxing lessons, if desired, and watching some of his fights, discussing the action.  As the auction went on, Ray kept adding to the mix “you can bring additional friends,” “you can use my bathroom,” “I can punch you so you know how it feels.” “I can sign SEVEN gloves for you,” At this point Howie went off commenting on why an odd number. ”You can go to his house and soil his bathroom, get 7 gloves, 5 socks and one of you can get the shit beat out of you. What a deal!” Ray broke down laughing. It was really a funny, good-hearted time. Eventually, Ray agreed to have two separate groups of people spend a day with him…final bid….$50,000 per group.  Sugar Ray was charming and funny during his time on stage. Clearly, the magnetic personality he demonstrated during his boxing heyday remains intact!

The WHO took the stage a bit later than anticipated and we all noticed the printed setlist was nearly the same as the show we saw in Vegas. A few noteworthy changes were the exclusion of Squeeze Box (not played in LV), Lilly, I’m One and 5:15 and The Rock). The Real Me was listed and some were curious as to why. We would find out!

The lads came out hot and were in prime form. As they were tuning up, Pete commented “Those of you in the front, this is going to hurt!” Pete was machine-gunning and very active right from the start of “Who Are You.”  Roger was interacting with the closely packed crowd, making gestures to those in front and smiling at some familiar faces.

Pete was not thrilled with the sound in the beginning saying it sounded “shitty” but no one minded. They carried on with a passionate set with minimal song introductions but enough chit-chat to keep the audience engaged between songs. They were under time constraints because we were in a residential neighborhood and the sound curfew was looming. I noticed Roger checking his watch a few times. The show did not feel rushed however and they completed everything from the original setlist. Highlights from the first segment of the show included a searing “My Generation” with Pino nailing the bass solo.  At one point, the dude behind me-with a blood alcohol level conservatively estimated at 0.3, yelled out for “My Wife”. Pete declined saying John was dead and he couldn’t imagine doing one of his songs without him on stage. He then ran through a few notes of the intro and sang the first line to “Boris, The Spider.”

Eddie Vedder came out to do “The Real Me” and the camaraderie between Roger, Pete and Eddie was palpable. The song went off very well with Roger and EV trading verses.  At the end, Pete kissed Eddie. I think you can see Eddie’s reaction in one of my pics. Priceless! Later, Pete commented on how they love Eddie and how he is always willing to help and “never says no”. In typical acerbic Pete wit added, “he’s’ always willing to help even when we don’t ask him!”

The Tommy set was spectacular with a long, drawn out “Birdman” pose by Pete and a little additional encouragement to the crowd for applause! The Acid Queen was not played.

Love, Reign O’er Me was played with a brilliant piano intro and Roger sounded great but seemed to struggle a little about ¾ way through the song. He actually rubbed his throat a bit and mugged at the crowd. It was still an absolutely stunning performance. (Side note: I get really pissed when a “rock journalist” reviewing the show for one of the LA papers writes Love RAIN ON Me. Dude, if you’re going to review an act, know the names of the band and the songs. YOU HAVE THE ENTIRETY OF HUMAN KNOWLEDGE at your fingertip! Google it if you don’t know it!)

The closing songs of Baba O’Riley and WGFA were spot on! Roger has taken to acting as though he was giving himself an injection by using the microphone cord as a tourniquet and the mic as the needle during the “They’re all wasted” lyrics. I always thought the lyrics meant that their lives were being wasted, not they are wasted/high/drugged out. Ahhhh, the mystery of rock lyrics. Pete did the split jump at the end of BABA and I was ready for it! However, Pete must’ve summoned some extra spring in those 71-year-old legs as he jumped far higher than I anticipated and my pic cuts him off at the shoulders!

Won’t Get Fooled Again brought the house down! The show concluded with thunderous applause and all who attended had a GREAT EXPERIENCE and a great deal of money raised for important charities!

 

Review by Pat Stanton

The Who Cares About the Next Generation benefit last night was a wonderful end to the NA tour, with monies raised to benefit TCA.

The event was held at a private residence with around 600 to 650 people in attendance. Joan Jett opened with the set that she performed during the 2015 NA tour. She looked and sounded wonderful.

David Spade did a short routine that had its funny moments. We were then treated to Eddie Vedder doing a solo set, with Simon Townshend joining him for "I'm the Answer".

Howie Mandel then played auctioneer for a high end auction of lots of very cool experiences, including a day with Kiss in rehearsal plus signed musical instruments, 2 pinball machines signed by the Tommy cast, VIP tickets to Coachella in October and lots of others. My favorite was a day with Sugar Ray Leonard at his home where he keep adding benefits to get the bid higher - like use his bathroom and take a video of his dog and take a picture of his gold medal. He even offered to punch someone if they wanted. He was amazingly sweet. That auction raised lots of money for the charity. Howie was so much funnier just being himself than David Spade was doing his routine. They should have let Howie do the stand-up.

The band finally came on after 9 and did a shorter set list - minus the 3 swing songs (Squeeze Box, Lily and 5:15) the Rock and I'm One. Inserted was "The Real Me" with Eddie V joining Roger on vocals as that is apparently a favorite of his.

They were under a time constraint as this was in a residential community and they started well after 9 so the chatting wasn't as extensive as recent shows. Pete expressed his displeasure with the sound which he declared sounded like shit on stage so it must sound like that to the audience. Roger added "we always sound like shit" and laughed. I definitely disagreed.

The stage was a temporary one and no more than 6' off the ground and the opposite of the enormously large stage in Vegas. There was no pit so the audience in the front was incredibly close. Roger's microphone came very close several times but most of the twirling was modest. There were no background videos nor screens, just the band on stage.

The lighting created havoc with my phone so my pictures are not great today. You will get the sense of close proximity though.

Someone kept telling out requests, including "My Wife". Pete responded "He is dead. Sadly he is dead" He added that can't imagine singing one of John's songs with him gone, and then sang a brief line from Boris.

Considering this was the band's 30th concert since Wembley on February 13th, they were amazingly fresh and energetic. Unlike the end of the 2015 spring NA tour, when Roger seemed to be exhausted and his voice was a bit ragged, Roger's voice still sounded very strong and he was full of energy, a sharp contrast to the Wembley show in February. Pete again appeared to be really enjoying himself and played with fire and energy.

The Tommy set is always a high point but last night it was extraordinary. Sparks and Amazing Journey were both performed with incredible passion.

Pete did not repeat his amazing slide from Vegas but we still had the machine gun at the end of Eminence and lots of audience chatting.

This was not the conventional crowd from one of their concerts but the fans were totally involved with the performance of the band and all the other performers. Everyone had a great time and most importantly lots of money was raised for charity.

 

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