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Review Québec, Thu, 13 July 2017

The Who in Quebec City bring out the big guns

Life in Quebéc, 14-07-2017

Thursday 13 July, 2017, Plains of Abraham, Quebec City – Playing in front of a massive crowd, tens of thousands strong, just as heavyweights Duran Duran, The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, and countless others have done before, this was yet another occasion when music icons of British origin brought unbridled pleasure to the masses, conquering the Plains of Abraham in the process.

Now firmly in their seventies, lead vocalist Roger Daltrey and guitarist Pete Townshend, accompanied by four musicians including long-time drummer Zak Starkey, came, stormed, and performed.

And what a show it was. The Who nailed it. Granted there one or two duff notes from Daltrey and a couple of missed windmill guitar strikes from Townshend, but the crowd could not have cared less.

They came to see their heroes in Quebec City for the first (and probably last) time due to their ages and not to say hectic schedule.

This was a tour spanning the decades as hit followed hit from start to epic finish of The Who’s two-hour, 20-track show.

‘Who! Who! Who!’, chanted the crowd in between songs, long and loud.

There were one or two pauses throughout the evening, mainly due to Townshend’s incessant fiddling to get his guitar sounds right (he is a relentless perfectionist with good reason), and once when the keyboard player went awol.

‘We seem to have lost our pianist’, remarked Daltrey, before waiting patiently to launch into the next tune.

During the pauses it was Pete Townshend who addressed the crowd. You got he feeling that although Roger Daltrey is a born showman, in private he might be just a little bit shy and reserved.

This was the first show of The Who’s 2017 tour of the Americas, and was perhaps used to iron out a few kinks.

Daltrey and Townshend have clearly still got it though, and in spades at that.

The microphone became the singer’s trademark lasso from time to time and the guitarist’s windmilling was in full flow to the clear delight of all.

‘It’s great to be with you tonight. What a beautiful city this is!’, offered Townshend early on in the piece.

I Can’t Explain kicked off the concert, swiftly followed by The Seeker and then Who Are You.
What with it being the iconic track it is, the latter seemed to get everyone going.

Tracks from Quadrophenia and Tommy featured prominently, with impressive moving backdrops showing everything from London and Brighton landmarks to news footage of conflicts around the world.

You Better You Bet and 5.15 stood out.

Their were a couple of technical issues that altered the flow of Love, Reign O’er Me, but again, the crowd didn’t seem to care – they were firmly in the zone by this point.

Pinball Wizard was simply stunning and it felt right that the gig should finish on a crescendo with Won’t Get Fooled Again.

‘See you again someday, we hope’, were Pete Townshend’s final words as the two hours of seminal, epoch-making music from those global superstars came to an end.

We got our money’s worth. No doubt about it.


Andrew Greenfield

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