Brian Kehew's Backstage Blog
Some thoughts on Saturday's show.
First, some context. This was the worst week of my life . An unexpected, devastating tragedy happened to my family. So it was with heavy hearts, and in a fog, that myself and my 2 kids entered CBP last night.
First, the crowd. Philly crowds are always great. But this is a huge stadium, and it's Memorial Day weekend when half the Philly area go to the Jersey shore. I thought the park would be half full. No Sir! It was packed. Even with sections blocked off, there was definitely over 30,000 Who fans screaming for our boys!
Tommy was majestic. The strings added so much depth. It was the closest to the actual studio record I've ever heard live. Amazing Journey even had the 'squeaky' backward recorded guitar part. Unreal. Roger had sound issues frequently. Pete lost his way a time or two. But his soloing was magnificent. Restrained in parts, unfortunately, but still incredible.
I guess, due to all the Groupon deals and ticket specials, most of the crowd didn't know a song played, until Pinball Wizard. So, that got a huge cheer and sing along. (For example, I was floor, row 17 Pete side. Of the 20 or so people in my immediate vicinity, only myself, my 2 kids and one other guy knew the words to 1921, lol).
See Me was epic of course. The entire stadium lit up in white spotlights. Never gets old, lol. The middle section was excellent. Pete, incredible on Eminence. ICSFM Rocked! Substitute was a blast.
For me, one of the only negatives is the acoustic WGFA. I was worried about this one. I do not understand taking the most bombastic song in rock, and neutering it by playing like this. I really dont think it worked. Tea and Theatre, likewise, should be replaced. BBE, which I find tired, felt new. Really well done.
Quad was, of course, fantastic. The Real Me and Punk rocked! I'm One was amazing. Like Tommy, it really benefited from the added strings. My only other disappointment was a Pete only Drowned. Now I love him doing it like this. But I heard the full version from earlier in the tour, and that is majestic. Oh well.
The Rock/LROM/Baba was probably the highlight. Pete played incredibly, Rogers voice was fantastic, unbelievably powerful actually, and the band and fans just all were in complete harmony for the final 3 songs.
In closing, it was a magical evening. For the umpteenth time in my life, this incredible band and the brilliant music of Pete Townshend reached out to me while I was mired in despair, and reminded me that it's ok to be mad, or to grieve, or cry, or scream. Its the essence of these amazing, life reaffirming songs, that have been the soundtrack to my life since the mid 70s. The magic that is The Who, and the genius that is PT, is once again seeing me thru a difficult time (actually THE most difficult time I've ever faced) in my life. Thank you, boys!
Long Live Rock