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

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts: 12/29/1983

This performance by Joan Jett was quite different from when I saw her open for The Who a year earlier. The Button South was a rock and roll nightclub, so it was much more intimate seeing her here as opposed to in a large stadium.

Don’t have a whole lot else to share about this show. I’ve seen Joan many times over the years, and this one kind of blends in with the remnants of memories from other performances. But I can say with certainty that she kicked ass, because she kicked ass every time I have seen her.

I love rock and roll…

The Who: 7/30/1989

who_7-30-89

I’ve seen The Who multiple times throughout my rock and roll life, but this show was by far the longest of all the Who concerts I attended. Some people griped about this tour, because the band had a plethora of backing musicians and Pete played mostly acoustic guitar (supposedly because of his tinnitus), but I thought it was an “amazing journey.”

I went with my two brothers and a bunch of our friends, all piled into my friend Lydia’s van. We got there fairly early and found our seats, which were on the field and not bad. As we were waiting for the show to start, a young woman of questionable morals took a seat in front of us. She was obviously a dancer and proceeded to stand on her chair and “perform” to the music piped in over the PA. While I was in no way offended by this show, I was somewhat taken aback by a couple of frat boys who were sitting off to the side of us, commenting about how sweet she was. They started talking with her, and within a very short time, they each took turns going into the port-o-john with her. They came back to their seats, smug and smiling, giving each other high-fives. All I could think was that they would be going home to some poor, unsuspecting sorority girls. It took me a while to get the vision of them in the porto out of my mind.

Finally, the show started, and the band opened with a “Tommy” mini-set, playing a nice chunk of the album. It was still light, which was a little disappointing, because I would have loved to have seen a killer light show accompanying the performance, but it was great nonetheless. After Tommy, they played a bunch of other songs, building in intensity and energy before taking a break.

After the break, they came back and played another long set, opening with “Magic Bus” and just ripping through one great song after another.

Finally, the set ended, but they returned for a multi-song encore and closed the night with  “Summertime Blues.” For me, it was an awesome concert. I was particularly surprised by “Trick of the Light,” a more obscure song that I LOVE.

After the concert, the traffic was insane, so we all hung around in the van and indulged in a post-concert tailgate until the traffic cleared.

Here are the set lists, to give you an idea of how long this show was.


Set 1:

  • Overture
  • It’s a Boy
  • 1921
  • Amazing Journey
  • Sparks
  • The Acid Queen
  • Pinball Wizard
  • We’re Not Gonna Take It
  • See Me, Feel Me
  • Eminence Front
  • Let My Love Open the Door
  • Face the Face
  • I’m a Man
  • I Can’t Explain
  • Substitute
  • I Can See for Miles
  • Trick of the Light
  • Boris the Spider
  • Who Are You

Set 2:

  • Magic Bus
  • Baba O’Riley
  • My Generation
  • A Little Is Enough
  • 5:15
  • Love, Reign O’er Me
  • Sister Disco
  • Rough Boys
  • Join Together
  • You Better You Bet
  • Behind Blue Eyes
  • Won’t Get Fooled Again

Encore:

  • Hey Joe
  • Dig
  • Summertime Blues

The Who: 11/27/1982

Who_11-27-82

This stub is from the first time I saw The Who. Now I have to confess that at the time, Pete Townsend was my idol guitarist. So going to see The Who was a huge deal for me. And it was a big event, with Joan Jett and the B-52s opening.

We made the trek from Miami to Orlando, dealt with the crush of getting through the gates for a general admission stadium show, and opted for seats in the stands. We really did not want to deal with standing on the open field of the Tangerine Bowl.

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts opened the show, and they rocked it. They hit the stage and broke right into “Bad Reputation,” which was the perfect opener. The rest of her set was solid and she kept the crowd pumped up.

Then the B-52s came out. I was not a big fan of their music at the time, but I was curious to check them out. They played about two or three songs and then a wave of debris hit the stage. It was one of the ugliest scenes of a band getting booed off the stage that I had ever witnessed. They said “Fuck you” to the audience and walked off. I really felt bad for them, but honestly, it was a stupid move on the part of the promoter. Their music was not in the same genre as The Who’s, and after a hard rocking set by Joan Jett, it was just not a good place for them to be sandwiched in the middle.

After a while, The Who burst on stage and opened with “My Generation.” Wow! I was blown away from the first power chord. Pete was jumping around, doing his classic windmills, and Roger Daltrey was swinging his microphone around like a madman. It was a moment I will never forget.

The rest of the show was great, and they played a nice mix of songs that included classic hits, new tunes, and some obscure oldies like “Tattoo.” I actually found the setlist online. Click here if you want to check it out.

I had heard some complaints about this tour, particularly directed toward Kenny Jones who replaced the late Keith Moon on drums. But myself, I LOVED this concert, and though I would see The Who more times, this concert holds a special place in my rock and roll heart.

I’ll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I’ll get on my knees and pray
We don’t get fooled again