SetlistOn The Road Again, A Little Is Enough, Pinball Wizard, Drowned, Anyway Anyhow Anywhere, You Better You Bet, Behind Blue Eyes, Baby Don't You Do It, Medley: English Boy/Seems Like Heaven To Me (Three Steps To Heaven)/Mary Anne With The Shaky Hand, Sheraton Gibson, Substitute, I Am An Animal, Girl From North Country, She's A Sensation, A Friend Is A Friend, Now And Then, Let My Love Open The Door, Who Are You, The Kids Are Alright, The Acid Queen, Won't Get Fooled Again, Magic Bus, I'm One
(Westfälische Nachrichten, 11-11-1998)
Pete looked like a man at peace with his past, challenging his present status, and inviting his audience to reconsider the future prospects for an artist inevitably linked with the ponderous weight of The Who's history.
This was the most FUN I've had watching any of the post-82 Who-related live events. Not as muscular as his Deep End shows in Brixton thirteen years ago, but lighter, brighter and more rhythmical. I just wanted to dance - and even at 42, I did - creakily, admittedly, but with anabashed joy.
I LOVED the way he re-invented so many of the songs - The Who's versions of "Baby Don't You Do It" have long been my favourites among their catalogue of covers, and this woozy strum, which built and built and built reminded me of the way Talking Heads could make Al Green's "Take Me To The River" brood until it burst into irresistable life. Best of all, by introducing the "rap" element, Pete showed he's still open to contemporary influences incorporated into the structures of his own work. Brave - and damn funky.
He seemed in fine form, judging by his repartee with the crowd, and his dry, laconic humour.
Great to hear "Mary Ann" in ANY form.
As to the "controversial" version of "Who Are You" - this seems to be on the point of becoming the most frequently re-invented song in the Townshend/Who canon since "My Generation". After the record (arguably the last recorded truly great Who song) came The Who's own live versions - which were highlights of the 79-80 period. More recently, we had Pete's back-to-basics accoustic-into-swelling-band version during Roger's "Daltrey Plays Townshend" shows. Then there was the similarly arranged version they did as an encore to the "Quadrophenia" performances - with RD hacking out a brutal blues riff solo to start, before being joined by the rest. That was encouraging in itself. It's one of Pete's great songs - the story of a wretched day, and a screaming examination of the soul and nature of how we relate to each other - and a touching, wracked love-song to boot.
So here we had it twisted inside out - with Pete giving it loads in a Neil Young wanging the guts of his guitar kind of way - taking the "build" up to and beyond the point of aural collapse. And just for good measure - another "rap" sequence - which was NOT welcomed in all quarters. Me, I loved it. But the Big Old Cock-er-neee Chap With The Large Belly And Attitude away behind me did NOT. At all. No siree a jim bob. And he howled. In a sort of cut-down 90's Dylan-Goes-Electric face-off moment, Mr Big Tum bellowed "Who Are You IS. NOT. A. Rap. Song." Ooooooh - just like that chap on the Dylan bootleg yelling "Judas"! (Errrr.... perhaps not). Anyway, thought I, let the sad fucker get back to listening to his Greatest Hits CD - or let him go and see a Who tribute band. Pete's not dead, and neither are his songs. He gave 'em life - and if he wants to let 'em grow up to be snotty brats who drink beer and wee on the carpets - IT'S HIS CHOICE! Three and a bit cheers for the old goat - he's still marching forward - unlike Mr Tum and chums, who want reverential, twee, bloodless "authentic" versions of the songs they grew up - just as they were. Tough. Tums grow, and so do songs.
Everything and more said above applies to the wiry, revitalised version of the great old chestnut - WGFA. Meet the new boss indeed. Pete asked how we felt about Labour now, 18 months on from the Great Victory against the Forces of Absolute Darkness. Utterly betrayed and fucked off, that's how.
But by PT - embraced, and stiffened for the fight ahead. Good work, baldy chap.
Billed as "Pete Townshend and Friends". She's A Sensation, The Acid Queen and A Friend Is A Friends sung by Pete Townshend and Tracy Langram; Baby Don't You It, Who Are You and Magic Bus included freestyle rap by Hame