I’ll be honest. I’m not used to writing reviews. In fact, aside from the odd Amazon review or gear review on a technology website that I’ve just bought something from, I’ve never written one in my life. So this review of last nights show at MEN Arena in Manchester is unique for now. It’s even more unique because I write it not as a fan of The Who but as a live music fan that took a chance to see The Who for the first time ever, when the opportunity came along. This gig was certainly an experience!
So, where to start? My knowledge of The Who is largely restricted to a few of their songs that I have personally performed in bands over the years (thanks to Paul for the musical education – he knows who he is). Notably, these were Pinball Wizard, My Generation and The Seeker. I also know the names of the members because each is pretty infamous in their own right and obviously they have a detailed and well documented historical contribution to rock & roll history. I further have a vague recollection that The Who had something to do with Mods, Rockers, Tommy, Quadrophenia and the latter two were films. I haven’t seen either of them.
With all of the above in mind, I’ll start with the obvious. This gig was The Who (basically Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey) with a bunch of cracking musicians performing the whole of the Quadrophenia album from start to finish, with an encore of other notable Who classics. I paid £70.00 for the ticket and because I booked some special seats that meant I had to be a member of The Who fanclub, I ended up paying £90.00 in total. It’s a high price but one that I felt was justified because I figured everyone should see ‘the greatest rock & roll band in the world’ at least once in their life. Apparently, the show started with some kind of instrumental track but I’ve no idea what that was like because we were late due to a number of our party finishing their drinks in the Hard Rock Cafe outside the venue. Oops! From there on though, things rocked!
I’m dividing my time between writing and checking out the Wikipedia article for Quadrophenia, mainly so I get the song titles right. I notice that the article starts with this little ditty:
“The name is a variation on the popular usage of the medical diagnostic term schizophrenia as dissociative identity disorder, to reflect the four distinct personalities of Jimmy, the opera’s protagonist”
So it seems we are well into the world of prog here! I never thought of The Who as a prog band. I thought they were pure rock. Standout tracks for me – Quadrophenia itself. Then I also realised I knew I’m One. I just didn’t know it was a Who song. So really enjoyed that track. Is It In My Head was another most enjoyable track. Sea and Sand was great to watch. The light and shade really came through with a huge PA system and from our vantage point half way up the stand, we could watch the whole venue bounce when the band lit up some of the heavier rock sections of the album. I find the individual tracks difficult to separate from the entire work. In fact, as I don’t own the album I’m sat here now playing the demo sections on iTunes in order to link song titles with the songs I remember on the night. View full article »