Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Who at ACC November 23

On a brisk friday night, Tuco and companions journeyed to the ACC to catch The Who doing a special show featuring the entire Quadrophenia double album released 39 years ago.

Quadrophenia is described as a rock opera and it's certainly got a complex feel. The tracks are written from four different perspectives representing the personas of the band members. Throughout the tracks are recurring motivs (think Wagner) which tie together the entire concept. It's arguably the pinnacle of The Who's songwriting so it was quite a treat to get to hear the double album LIVE in its entirety.

So Who's left? Well that would be Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend joined ably by some excellent touring musicians including Pete's brother Simon on rhythm guitar and Zak Starkey on drums. (Starkey is the son of Ringo Starr). Keith Moon and John "Thunderfingers" Entwhistle would make appearances via video clips, the integration of which into the programme was very well done.

Unfortunately Tuco missed the opener, choosing to scarf down some premium ACC fare. Everything at the ACC is at a premium I guess. Got a change to gape the crowd. Alot of older folk, quite a number with their twentysomething children in tow for a family event. And there were a few who had yet to be told the 70s had come and gone rocking some jackets with The Who band patches from a while back. A surprising number of the latter had come out of the woodwork.

Set started shortly after 8:30, diving straight into I Am The Sea. ACC looked like it was sold out. I noticed one empty section of seats about 105 degrees to the stage that would later have people snatching closer looks at the stage. Another thing: The ACC staff gave ZERO f*cks the entire night with respect to seating, smoking, weed and wasted jackasses blocking people's views repeatedly despite several increasingly aggressive warnings. It's really hit or miss with the ACC staff. For the Red Hot Chilli Peppers concert, it was like the Stazi were on duty but friday's staff were a joke.

Fortunately, this did not impact our enjoyment of a great aural and visual treat. The stage setup had 6 screens which picked up stage details or beamed some classic video clips of Keith Moon and John Entwhistle soloing. They even snuck a Toronto Argos logo in one of the videos which got a mighty cheer. The highlight for me was a historic montage from the 60s up to present day played during Love, Reign o'er Me. The Who has seen some moments.

Daltrey's voice still retains some of its vigour and he was on pitch when it mattered most. And he's also still swinging around the microphone - overhead, around the back, although he didn't go into the crowd (too far outside the security perimeter). Townshend - what can I say. The guy's got a better windmill than Dominique Wilkins. He's also underrated as a singer. Townshend did most of the crowd interaction (PR) praising Toronto and making some funny cracks. As for his guitar playing - is there a more distinctive attack than Townshend's picking action? I love it - it's really amazing to watch. Well played. Thanks to The Who!
Here's the setlist:

Quadrophenia - Entire album
Who Are You?
Behind Blue Eyes
Pinball Wizard
Baba O'Riley
Won't Get Fooled Again
Tea & Theatre
The Who played well over 2 hours - really outstanding. If there was one more song that I would have loved to hear it would be this classic:

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