Thursday, April 09, 2015

The Who Hits 50 at The O2

Monday 23-March-2015

This will be the third time I have seen The Who. Last time was in 1996 in Hyde Park when they played the whole of Quadraphenia. The first time was in 1970 at the Isle of Wight Festival when they played the whole of Tommy! I still have the original vinyl double gatefold album with the price sticker 85/- That is 85 shillings or four and a quarter of your English pounds.

This concert was the rescheduled from last year due to Roger Daltry's voice problems. Here he was on good form as he belted out the greatest hits for two and a quarter hours - not bad for a 71-year old. Pete Townsend was also irrepressible and very sweary. They did their signature moves - microphone swinging and arm windmilling respectively.

We went for the "Hot ticket package" so we had better seats, closer to the stage, worth it especially as I will probably never see them again. We also got "merchandising" - a Mod-style backpack, official souvenir brochure and laminate plus lanyard.

The Evening Standard writes: "[...] as you might expect from men of their vintage, things were a little flabby around the middle. By Townshend’s own admission, a lacklustre Slip Kid “sounded better in the sound check” while A Quick One, While He’s Away was The Who in self-parody. Thankfully, the frenetic strumming of Pinball Wizard jolted things back into life. When this was followed by the evergreen Won’t Get Fooled Again, a triumphant show was given its crowning moment. Townshend has suggested this will be the band’s final tour; if that’s the case, they’re going out on a high." Full review...

I would second that. The concert delivered exactly what it said on the tin: all the iconic hits including My Generation - how ironic to hear a pensioner sing "I hope I die before I get old". Unfortunately Mary had to leave at 10pm to get up to Stansted so I watched the last 40 mins on my own. That last segment included an excellent medley of tracks from Tommy. Superb!

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