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The Who & Eddie Vedder, Wembley Stadium July 6th 2019

July 8, 2019

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The only European date of the Moving On tour saw the Who backed by a full orchestra with impressive results. A generous 25 song, 140 minute set was divided into thirds. The first section featured songs from Tommy, the strings and brass coming into their own on We’re Not Gonna Take it. A sensitive version of the rarely-played Imagine A Man was an early highlight, as was an exuberant Join Together.

The middle section was played without orchestra, and put the emphasis firmly on the Who themselves, tonight trimmed to a six piece – Pete Townshend (guitar, vocals, boiler suit), Roger Daltrey (vocals & tambourines), Zak Starkey (savage drumming), Simon Townshend (second guitar & vocals), Loren Gold (keyboards), Jon Button (bass) and Billy Nichols (vocals). Won’t Get Fooled Again reverted to its original acoustic arrangement whilst Behind Blue Eyes benefitted from a subtle string backing. Kudos to the band for performing two new unrecorded songs tonight – Hero Ground Zero and Still Waiting For The Big Cigar. Townshend made a moving tribute to Alan Rogan his guitar tech of 45 years who had died two days previously. Daltrey reflected that “the glamour is gone, our youth is gone but the music still sounds f*cking brilliant.”

Then the orchestra returned for selections from Quadrophenia including a snarling Punk And The Godfather where well-received support act Eddie Vedder guested, and a magnificent version of The Rock where the band and orchestra surpassed the original studio recording. Finally a Love Reign O’er Me during which Daltrey’s impassioned vocal plea to “rain on me” resulted in some very damp fans and a closing Baba O’Reily with dancing violin from Katie Jacoby. Townshend announced further UK orchestral dates from The Who next year: they will be worth seeing. No My Generation, but tonight a vigorous carpe diem trounced “hope I die before I get old”.

Review written for Record Collector magazine

Picture: Cliff Moss

From → Gigs, Music

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