SetlistI Am The Sea
The Real Me
Cut My Hair
The Punk And The Godfather
The Dirty Jobs
Is It In My Head
I've Had Enough
Sea And Sand
Love Reign O'er Me
Behind Blue Eyes
Who Are You
Won't Get Fooled Again
Tea And Theatre
The Who put on a helluva show in Greensboro, NC Friday, November 9, 2012. Of course, for a band that cut their teeth and made their reputation that really shouldn’t be surprising. Even with the two remaining original members in the late 60s and the rest of the band in their 40s or better they were up to the task of bringing 1973’s double album "Quadrophenia" to life.
Quadrophenia had been toured quite extensively in 1996 and 1997 but this production was quite different. First off the band and guest singers have been cut back from the earlier production. Additionally, the backing videos have been redone. Both are an improvement in my book.
The stage design of one large round "Mr. Screen" flanked by two smaller round screens hanging over the stage, one large rectangular HD screen slightly elevated behind the band and two more rectangular screens hanging on either side of the stage allowed a multiple of films, close ups and effects to be shown at once.
The album’s narrative of young mod named Jimmy has now been fully tied into the postwar history of England, the band’s history and other significant world events up to approximately 2006.
The selection of Quadrophenia was a good one for the band to tour. The album is probably the greatest complete and fully formed album The Who produced. The albums before Tommy showed the promise of the band and Tommy was a breakthrough smash that showed a band seizing the moment. Compared to Quadrophenia though these albums fall a bit short in terms of musical complexity and competency. Who’s Next, of course, was the rescued remnants of Lifehouse and while it contains many of The Who’s biggest hits and great songs it feels a bit cobbled together. The post Quadrophenia work of The Who does contain some good songs but doesn’t hold up as a third act. In my eyes, Quadrophenia was the apex of The Who as a recording band.
Additionally, Quadrophenia allows Roger Daltrey to rest his vocal chords as the album contains two lengthy instrumental songs, extended jamming, guest vocals by Simon Townshend on Dirty Jobs and Pete Townshend picking up a number of other lead vocals.
The musicianship was first rate during the performance and vocals of Daltrey extremely good for a man in his late 60s playing a second show in two nights. Now Daltrey will never hit some of those notes he recorded in the 60s and 70s ever again but he has adjusted and so has the band. There was no noticeable vocal cracking and he delivered the goods again and again.
Special tributes to both Entwistle and Moon are included during the production and they are also pictured quite frequently along with Townshend and Daltrey in the ongoing videos presented.
A small complaint could be registered as to the set list. Quadrophenia the album is performed in total and then a selection of songs (the "More" as it was billed) is presented. The band does not leave the stage after Quadrophenia has concluded. Pete Townshend does the band introductions and then a now six song set is played. It appears that this will be locked in as the standard even though "You Better, You Bet" and "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere" had also been performed at previous shows. I realize that lighting and production cues do limit the ability of the band to call an audible, a majority of the audience wants to hear "the hits", and set list variety has never been a calling card of The Who it still would be nice to have a "Naked Eye", "Long Live Rock" or "Goin Mobile" slip into the set every once in awhile.
I’ve seen The Who four times now (1982, 1989, 1997 and 2012) and this would have to rank 2nd behind The First Farewell Tour for the shows I’ve attended. I do find it an amazing journey that a 15 year old me saw them and 30 years later I was taking my 13 year old and 9 year old daughters to see The Who.
Support Act: Vintage Trouble