SetlistI Can't Explain
Anyway Anyhow Anywhere
Who Are You
Behind Blue Eyes
Pick Up The Peace
We Got A Hit
They Made My Dream Come True
A Man In A Purple Dress
Black Widow's Eyes
Mike Post Theme
You Better You Bet
Won't Get Fooled Again
(St. Paul Pioneer Press, 09-12-2006)
An excellent opening set by The Pretenders made steep ticket prices a little more palatable. The Who took the stage, ripped into "Can't Explain" with much gusto and lead shredding by Pete and all seemed well. Roger's voice was noticably strained during an otherwise-excellent version of "The Seeker" and he soon explained that he'd been suffering through bronchitis, but was going to soldier on. And, although his voice was lacking what's left of its usual strength and grandeur it was more like seeing The Who as a band than I've ever been lucky enough to witness. There were six people on stage, which was a third the amount of people onstage when I saw The 'Ooh in '89. And Pete was playing some seriously tasty lead throughout...what a shredathon! (For those with any interest in these matters, Pete now plays through Fender Vibro King stacks instead of HiWatt...same great crunch).
Rabbit was also MIA due to his wife's illness (backed up by his keyboard tech who did a nice job) , and the especially chatty Pete at one point asked "The 50% of you who believe in the power of prayer" to send one her way...quite touching even to an old secular humanist like myself. They played the rest of their current set and a visibly strained (and somewhat apologetic) Roger left the stage after the throat-shredding finale of "Won't Get Fooled Again". His last words to the audience were something to the effect of: "I'm sorry but I've given you all I have. I'm ****ed" .
Pete and the rest of the band took the stage for an encore without him. They proceeded to tear up "My Generation" Live At Leeds style, and at the encore finish gifted the crowd with a rare performance of "The Naked Eye", with a few seemingly-improvised lyrics. Anyone remember the last time they played that one? (Someone on here is sure to know) .
I was on the fence as to whether to go to the show but it was definitely worth the cost of admission and if you're at all a fan of the band I would recommend seeing them in this incarnation. Support players were OK...it goes without saying that Zak is no Moon and Entwhistle is also irreplacable. This is not to denigrate any musician's performance...they all played quite competently and provided a solid backing for Townshend's guitar pyrotechnics. But the old roar of the Who came partially from moments of live musical anarchy that snapped right back onto the beat and it's really hard to reproduce that kind of chemistry with musicians that are so used to locking in on the beat, rather than synching up around it the way Moonie and The Ox could. Even so, a good night and it was nice to have The Who back in our town...it's great that Pete is such a fan of the Twin Cities area (even if he addressed the St.Paul crowd at one point as "Minneapolis"...that's a big no no 'round these parts, doncha know). Pete and Co., the feeling is mutual!
Roger had been struggling most of the night due to broncitis (sic?), so he said from the stage. He was drinking lots of water and probably tea, and a couple of times looked like he lost his composure. Somehow he let out his massive scream at the end of "Won't Get Fooled Again", and that probably did it in for him. He looked a little upset afterwards and mentioned something about "making it to us." He did not return to the stage for the encore which had Pete and the troops doing a crowd sing-along version of "My Generation", segued into I presume this tour's version of "Cry If You Want". Then into "Naked Eye". All three weird, yet wonderful versions by Pete and the band, not to mention some great soloing. We anticipated Roger coming back to do the "Tommy" encore, but it never happened. Was this the first Who show since 1969 that "Pinball Wizard" was not performed? Special mention should be made that "Mike Post Theme" had a false start, which prompted Pete to stop the song, say a funny comment about Roger, and then re-start the song. All in all, a weird, yet great night. Nice improvising in a tough situation!
Regarding the St. Paul show, early in the evening, Roger announced he had a bad case of Bronchitis - not just a cold. He did ok on some of the songs but sounded pretty rough most of the night. I haven't seen any other shows on the tour but I'm fairly certain that he sang quite a bit less in some of the group vocal sections with Simon & Pete more prominent. They apparently skipped a few songs from the list & went right to Won't get Fooled Again to end it. Roger was coughing often & obviously very uncomfortable by that point. He managed the scream at the end of the song but I think that completely finished him. After the song he told the crowd that he was done & couldn't go on. He apologized & said something to the effect that they'd have to come back & make this one up to us.
For the encore, Pete got the crowd to sing Roger's part on My Generation for 1 verse & then sang the lead himself for the rest. In the extended jam at the end, he sang the words "Cry if you Want" a few times. Naked Eye was extended much more than I'd heard before but, in all honesty, I could be wrong. It really seemed that they were just completely improvising to the point where it sounded like a completely different song - Pete's vocals were completely unfamiliar to me but, again, I'm not the best person to comment on that as I've only heard a couple live versions of the song.
It was a frustrating show but actually kind of interesting to see them jettisoning the prepared list & really winging it for a bit. The band really did sound good and, for much of the show, Roger just sounded rough but really wasn't too big a distraction.
Towards the beginning of the show Roger said he had bronchitus and it was mostly in his chest but might affect his voice a bit "but it ain't fuckin' opera!" He went on to do quite well for most of the show though you could tell his voice was a bit strained. After "Won't Get Fooled Again" he said something like "Sorry, I've given all I can give tonight. We'll have to come back and make it up to you another time." The band left the stage and after awhile came back on (I'm not sure if this is the usual encore break or not?) Pete said they were going to give Roger a breather "So YOU get to sing My Generation!" They went on to play it with the audience and Pete singing, then it seemed they were improvising a little and did "Naked Eye" and after awhile when it was obvious Roger would not be back Pete said "Goodnight! I hope you get snow by Christmas!" and that was it. From what I understand the show was 20-25 minutes shorter than usual and we missed the Tommy material as well as Tea & Theatre.
Support Act: The Pretenders
Roger left the stage after Won't Get Fooled Again because of a cold. The band returned on stage playing the encore without Roger.