Review by Pamela Woodward
You'd think after 110 Who concerts (since 1976) I would be blasé about yet another show but you'd be WRONG! (And not just because my name was on the screen before the show!) I miss John and Keith with all my heart but it's still The Who and they still stir my soul and my feet! I was in the 2nd level Mezzanine for this show and as Caesars is a small venue I could see the stage clearly.
They opened with WAY and it was wondrous all the way to the end. Rogers voice is very strong and Pete was very animated - I loved their banter throughout, especially when they were discussing which parts of them aren't creaky!
Simon and Zak were great as always and I deeply appreciate that Jon Button's bass was high in the mix!
A big part of my many years in Who World is all the friends I've made over the years and the joy of seeing them again - I hope we all get to meet again! (But then I never dreamed that after seeing the band in 1976 that I would still be going to their shows 41 years later!)
Review by Pat Stanton
The fifth show in the Vegas residency was back to high energy and fun, much more enjoyable than the last show on Monday. Technical issues were kept to a minimum and the band simply rocked all night.
The set list opened with a return to the more universally popular Who Are You rather than traditional I Can't Explain, popular with Who fans but not as well know to casual or younger fans. Seeker then followed.
Pete's dreaded Squeeze Box had been inserted before Kids Are Alright and Pete apparently didn't realize it as he started to introduce Kids. The set list has VER2 on the bottom as it was reworked during sound check as Roger noted that there is a Festival on Sunday and they were getting ready for it.
Roger told his Kids story about longingly looking at the Detours van as a place to live rather than in the small flat with his wife and baby. He said of course he thought Pete wrote every song for him back then, laughing.
Pete was excellent all night, as he has been for the entire residency. His energy level was high, with a solid jump but no slide nor any machine gunning of the audience.
Roger was back to his engaging self during the show, laughing and joking with the band, Pete and the audience. He sounded stunning all night, with a beautiful Love Reign.
The modified version of Drowned onto I'm One now looks like it is a permanent addition. Funny how the screw up of the opening of that song last Friday which then became a challenge from Pete to Roger of "Then you sing the first verse" when he asked for a lyric cue has now become one of the best songs all night. They share the song so beautifully it is just fabulous, with Roger improvising differently each night.
The elimination of the Rock has been very effective. While I enjoyed hearing and watching it, the instrumental never really flowed with the rest of the show.
No Naked Eye as part of the My Generation jam. Maybe it will resurface on Friday. Punk and Godfather was back and is always a fun song.
This was an enjoyable and energetic show and audience seemed to totally enjoy themselves. And happily, the band seem to having as much fun as all of us.
Review by D. G. Devin
I slept thirteen hours last night, at home in my own bed. Maybe that's because I slept only thirteen hours in the previous three days. The Who will do that to you.
I'll start by pointing out I hate Las Vegas, as it's a noisy, trashy, artificial town designed to extract money from obnoxious drunks. The last time I was there it was to see The Who at the Hard Rock Casino Hotel's venue, The Joint. Worst Who show I ever saw, even Roger Daltrey was unhappy based on his remarks to the audience at the end of the show (they wouldn't stop smoking and the smoke shredded his voice--he wasn't happy about that). My wife and I only went back to Vegas because The Who had moved to Caesars Palace venue, the Colosseum. So we booked a room at Caesars (ending up in their very nice luxury tower called Nobu which seems to be aimed at Japanese business persons with fat expense accounts). You know you're in a nice place when the snacks and drinks in the minibar cost twice as much as in any other hotel you've ever seen. Hilariously, we never left Caesars Palace premises in over three days. This isn't a hotel, it's a small town with four distinct hotels, a huge casino, a luxury shopping mall that makes more money per square foot than any mall in America, and dozens of restaurants, bars, clubs, cafes and so on. Why leave all that when it's 104-degrees outside?
Our first show was on Monday the seventh. Nice venue, holds about four thousand, comfy reclining seats with drink holders (naturally), good sight lines to the stage from everywhere. Our seats were a little further from the stage than on most of our previous tours, but these tickets were not exactly bargain priced and that's the seats we were prepared to pay for. If memory serves I paid six or seven dollars to see my first Who concert forty-one years ago, that wouldn't buy a cup of beer at Caesars....
Pete began the show by announcing, "It's Monday, yesterday was a full moon, and we're in Las Vegas" with a bit of a naughty leer. Pete cracking jokes before the show even begins is a good sign in my books. Pete stayed happy and chatty for the first half of the show, doing less of that in the second half as he tired a bit, at least that's what he said at the end. The closest Pete came to being snarky was when they blew the intro to the second song, "Bargain" and had to start over, something I've never before witnessed, "Can I get a count-in I can hear" from Pete resulted in Zak pointedly holding his drumsticks in Pete's direction as he counted in songs after that.
At one point Pete pointed out they were doing okay for a band of their age, he being only 72 while Roger is even older. He also thanked Roger for inviting him to join the band all those years ago. Yes, indeed, Roger, thank you very much for that. As Roger pointed out when he was introducing Pete after the show, "None of us would be here without him".
I was thrilled that "ICSFM" was in the setlist, Pete has said on previous tours that they get more requests for that song than any other. Roger sounded great, a rest between shows and no selfish swine in the audience blowing clouds of smoke at him made quite a difference. It was a good show, I was happy with the performance, and the drunken argument nearby over someone who wouldn't sit down so someone else's wife could see didn't involve us so it didn't spoil our evening.
Jumping forward two days to August ninth, I have to ask, what makes one Who show better than another in your mind? Obviously issues not involving the band can have an impact, e.g. one of those obnoxious drunks right behind you screaming the lyrics to every song in your ear--happily not a problem for us at these shows. And then there is the band, how are they, are they really leaning into it, or just sort of phoning it in? Wednesday's show was better than Monday's, and we knew it would be because Pete and Roger both had big grins on their faces most of the night. They acknowledged people they knew in the audience, they laughed at each others jokes, they were in a good mood and their performance benefited from that. I know there are some self-obsessed fans who think getting into the front row and yelling abuse at Pete and Roger until they get angry produces a better grade of performance. I think that's a load of garbage, as the best Who shows I've seen over the decades all involved a happy band. They were really happy on the ninth, and it was clearly a better performance as a result. It was so much better that they changed the setlist! No, really, I'm not kidding, they changed a couple of songs. Pete was taken by surprise when he realized Roger had added "Squeeze Box" to the show, "Making me play a song I hate" as he put it. Didn't stop Pete from nailing the song of course.
Pete remarked that this venue normally features lady singers in elaborate frocks, a reference to Celine Dion for whom Caesars built this venue. Pete then lamented that Roger wouldn't wear a fancy frock, and said The Who were able to change their setlist on this run because they had no dancers with carefully rehearsed show routines. Roger talked about growing up in what Americans would call "the projects" but which were known as council flats in Britain, and Pete said he wrote "My Generation" in reaction to rich ladies who elbowed him out of the way when he was living in a nice apartment building in London, "they really did"--thank you rich, rude ladies for inspiring such a great song.
Pete commented on Pino not being there for these shows, as he was off playing with the lovely and talented John Mayer, "And good fucking luck to him," with a snarl of mock anger at this desertion.
About the band--having lived through the deaths of both Keith and John and recognizing that today's Who is at best at half power, I had become used to Rabbit and Zak and Simon and Pino. I was upset when Rabbit was dropped, and I'm not happy at Pino being gone no matter how innocent the explanation. I confess that seeing it takes no less than THREE keyboard players to replace Rabbit was making me wonder if this is really The Roger Daltrey Band Featuring Special Guest Pete Townshend. Maybe I was over-reacting, it's actually a good band, and Pete and Roger are firing on all cylinders so half The Who remains better than all of most bands on the road these days.
I think they were planning to do an encore, the band stayed onstage and it sure looked like they were expecting at least one more number, they kept looking at Pete's side of the stage but he never returned so everyone else trooped off as well. We went to our room in our Four Diamond Luxury Hotel where we had enjoyed an incredibly delicious and incredibly expensive meal the night before, and we agreed that if Pete and Roger decide to do another residency at this place then we would be prepared to return. We met a lot of other contented fans, folks our age from Oregon and Kansas and who knows where else, some seeing their tenth or fifteenth show, some their first, all happy. As always, wearing a John Entwistle Foundation shirt starts up conversations. So while I had doubts about the band returning to Las Vegas, the change of venues made all the difference I could have wished for. This was a good move on the band's part, and they could easily do this again next year if I have anything to say about it.