Andy Munro watched the Who saying goodbye once more.
A song title that’s probably apt in my case as this was the third ‘farewell’ Who tour I’d been to see. However, remarkably, every one seems to get even better and this was no exception in a packed NIA.
The proceedings kicked off with a very competent performance from a Tunbridge Wells outfit, The Standard Lamps. It must be difficult to open for a band like the Who but their musical genre was fairly similar and, with some good humoured patter, they kept things bubbling along nicely.
The Who came on at around 8.30pm and played a marathon non-stop set until 11pm. They were, to coin a more modern phrase, simply awesome with Daltrey and Townsend seemingly finding the secret to eternal youth with their boundless energy and powerful harmonies. As usual, they were backed by some talented musicians with Zak Starkey outstanding on the drums. Perhaps the best way to describe his performance is that, undoubtedly, it was the Full Moon.
Opening with I Can’t Explain, they drove effortlessly forward through their repertoire which included The Seeker, one of my personal favourites, Substitute, Pinball Wizard and the rest. To me, some of the many highlights were superb renditions of You Better,You Bet, 5.15, Baba O’Riley and Won’t Get Fooled Again.
The only times when the vocals became a struggle were for I Can See For Miles and Behind Blue Eyes but that’s probably being picky. In fact, next time I suffer from a sore throat I definitely want to find out what gargle Roger uses because his voice remains incredible despite his advancing years.
On that note, watching the Who and looking at the audience, most of whom were prime candidates for Grecian 2000, it made me wonder whether, in ten years time, we’ll all be in care homes nodding vigorously to a selection of Who anthems. Who Are You? The Who? It could keep us all in rapt conversation for hours.
Incidentally, during their performance, there was some great footage and back tracks to performances by John Entwistle and Keith Moon which reminded us of the talent that was tragically lost to rock music over the years.
As the evening drew to a close, Daltrey and Townsend announced that they weren’t going to mess around with orchestrated encores and, instead, urged the audience to enjoy a ride on the Magic Bus to end the night. My only regret about a memorable display from this iconic band was they didn’t include a rendition of My Generation, although on second thoughts that might have been too close for comfort for most of us in the audience.
Won’t Get Fooled Again? Happily.