The Who: 8/16/1997

“Quadrophenia” is one of my favorite Who albums, so when I saw they were touring and performing the album in its entirety, I didn’t even hesitate. My friend Jim also wanted to go, so we got the general admission field tickets, which were pretty cheap. We figured we would get there early and snag a decent spot, which was what we did.

Drivin’ n’ Cryin’ was the opening act. I had not seen them before, but I had heard of them. They were good; better than your average opener. But I was definitely stoked to see The Who.

How to describe the energy when the band kicked in to “The Real Me”? Words fail me. John Entwistle was all over that bass with his spider fingers. “The Real Me” was my buddy Jim’s favorite Who song, so he was instantly blown away.

The rest of the show was nothing short of excellent. They played through all of “Quadrophenia” and then returned for an encore which was actually more like a second set. They even tossed in some Who silliness and played a little bit of “It’s a Small World,” conjuring the Disney energy of being in Florida.

But what stands out the most for me about this particular show was the very end… the last note of “Who Are You.” Pete took his guitar and slammed in into the stage. While this was not the wanton guitar destruction of yore, it was the only time I saw Townsend “smash” a guitar on stage. It is one of those iconic rock images that is burned into the collective rock and roll consciousness.

I would see The Who perform Quadrophenia again years later, after Entwistle’s death. That show was great for other reasons, but this one has a warm spot in my heart.

Here is the full setlist. “Long Live Rock!”

Quadrophenia

  • I Am the Sea
  • The Real Me
  • Quadrophenia
  • Cut My Hair
  • The Punk and the Godfather
  • I’m One
  • The Dirty Jobs
  • Helpless Dancer
  • Is It in My Head?
  • I’ve Had Enough
  • 5:15
  • Sea and Sand
  • Drowned
  • Bell Boy
  • Doctor Jimmy
  • The Rock
  • Love, Reign O’er Me

Encore

  • I’m the Face
  • Won’t Get Fooled Again
  • Behind Blue Eyes
  • Substitute
  • I Can’t Explain
  • It’s a Small World ([Disney] cover) (Partial; sung by Roger)
  • The Kids Are Alright
  • Who Are You
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The Who: 11/8/2012

I had seen the Who several times, and had seen them perform “Quadrophenia” also, but the fact that they were playing in an arena (I had only ever seen them outdoors) and the fact that I wanted to take my kids to see the legendary band prompted me to get tickets.

I drove with my friend Greg to the box office at the Bi-Lo Center in Greenville, SC on the day the tickets were going on sale. It was a solid hour’s drive, but we figured it would be worth it to save the exorbitant TicketMaster fees that we would be charged if we bought the tickets online. The line was pretty long, and they were doing the lottery thing where they give everyone a number and then pick who gets first in line. We ended up getting a decent spot for when the tickets went on sale. Our seats were on the balcony, about halfway back, but first row, so we would not have any heads obstructing our view.

On the night of the show, my wife and I drove down with the kids and we met Greg and his family, along with another couple of friends, and we all sat together, which was fun. There is something about going to see live music with a big group of friends and family that makes the experience even more special.

Anyway, the opening act was a band called Vintage Trouble. They are a really great R&B band and I was thoroughly impressed with their sound and stage presence. If you are into high-energy, 1960s style rhythm and blues, then you should check these guys out.

After a relatively short intermission, the Who came out and launched into the Quadrophenia set. They had a great high-def video wall behind the band that displayed some amazing visuals that supported the music. And while Pete Townsend and Roger Daltrey were both showing their age, they still performed with the energy that the Who is known for.

After completing the Quadrophenia part of the performance, the band did an extended “encore” set of classic Who tunes. Overall, it was a great show. And while it was not the best Who show I had seen (I did miss John Entwistle’s bass playing), the fact that I got to share this experience with my whole family makes it one of those live music moments that I will cherish forever.

Here is the full setlist.

Setlist:

Quadrophenia

  • I Am the Sea
  • The Real Me
  • Quadrophenia
  • Cut My Hair
  • The Punk and the Godfather
  • I’m One
  • The Dirty Jobs
  • Helpless Dancer
  • Is It in My Head?
  • I’ve Had Enough
  • 5:15
  • Sea and Sand
  • Drowned
  • Bell Boy
  • Doctor Jimmy
  • The Rock
  • Love, Reign O’er Me

Encore:

  • Baba O’Riley
  • Pinball Wizard
  • Behind Blue Eyes
  • Who Are You
  • Won’t Get Fooled Again
  • Tea & Theatre