SetlistHeaven And Hell, I Can't Explain
This show must have been one of oppertunity, because there was no advance anouncement, and it was only on WBCN once the day of the show. The Nice opened for them, and were great. The Who played the Live at Leeds set, and were amazing. At that time in their evolution, they were the heaviest band on the planet. Townsend does the birdman at 130db. I still remember the rush. Awesome.
1968-1969 was an era of great music in intimate settings. The Boston Armory of course lacked the intimacy of either Boston Tea Party venue but Tommy had launched The Who into the super-star stratosphere, even of that mega-star era. The opportunity to witness the rock opera in a 5,000 seat arrena was awesome. The Who put on an incredible show with Daltrey and Townsend playing to each other in synchronicity. Although I was only a causal fan of the group remember it as one of the many defining concerts of that golden era of rock.
My friends and I went to Boston from Queens based on a friend who told us about a show featuring Led Zeppelin, Johnny Winter and MC5. We we arrived, we found that this show was for two weeks later (The Narrangansett Tribal Rock Festival). We soon learned of the Who concert at the Commonwealth Armory and arrived early as the only tickets left were being sold at the door. We gave our money to two of my friends who were big guys as the crowd gathered around a corrugated steel door that led inside. Our plan worked and we were soon inside.
Wooden folding chairs were arranged in rows and we soon found seats. The opening act Pacem were not very good but the Flock were really fine, playing their strange and trippy music from "Dinosaur Swamp", their new album.
The who opened with Heaven and Hell and I Can't Explain and then launched into a nonstop rollercoaster of Tommy. It was a mesmerizing show. I cant remember their encores but this was only my second Who concert and my friends and I became "true disciple" that night.
Pete was wearing his white jumpsuit and was a whirlwind on guitar. Moon pounded on a large drum kit with a large gong behin him and was a one man wrecking crew. Daltrey whipped the mike around in a frenzy and of course The Ox, looking totally detached thumped out the bass line. I was overwhelmed that what basically amounted to a trio could put out such a powerful sound. Many more Who shows were soon to follow.
I was in dorchester working when i heard the WBCN report of the ticket sales, dropped everything and went to the BU student boxoffice under the Armory.
The show was held in the garage storage space in a large cavern like space with plenty of support piers fuckin up views. I had seats on the wooden chairs that were 12 ft from the stage in front of the big stack of vox amps.
As the show started at a decibel level over 100', I wasn't ready for the impact of the sound waves bouncing off my chest and blowing out my hearing in the first 3rd of the show. I had to go to the rear of the hall to recover from the impact. After recovering somewhat I went back up front as a true rocker and let them blow out some more of my hearing, but becoming a big WHO fan in the process.
They were absolutely mezmerizing in their assault on the Tommy score having played it with reckless abandon.
This show lead me to see them in boston Garden when Keith Moon did a swan dive into his drum kit and had to be carried off stage. Townsend promised the fans they would return and play a special makeup show, during which they played Quadrophenia. Not bad for a makeup gesture and a man of his word.
I have been to all of the WHO tours since then and have attended over 500 concerts and this COMMONWEATH ARMORY show is in my top 3 shows behind the BEATLES 9/12/1964 BOSTON GARDEN show AND THE ROLLING STONES 11/29/1969 at the GARDEN. I WAS HOOKED ON ROCK because of them.