Last night my lovely wife Laura treated me to 4th row VIP package to The Who’s Quadrophenia show in Oakland for my anniversary present, and they did not disappoint. The VIP package included the great seats, pre-show sound check, VIP bar/catering and other goodies. It was classic Who – tight, energetic, microphones and arms flying around and visually stunning,
Towards the end of the evening Roger Daltrey was clearly having trouble with his voice and after disappearing off stage for a bit it was unclear if he was going to be able to finish or not. Pete Townshend and the other band members were visually concerned and were improvising a bit until Roger eventually came back on stage and belted out Love Rein O’re Me, the final song of the album, and all seemed OK again.
Before launching into Who Are You as part of a six song “best of” set to close the show, Roger asked a favor of the crowd. “It fucking sucks, but believe it or not, I am allergic to pot – it closes up my throat. So those of you smoking it (and there were quite a few), please just eat it. It will last longer!” And for the most part, everyone did and the gig concluded pretty much without further incident.
This was the eight time I’ve seen The Who, my favorite band, perform live in its various incarnations, including a very different turn at Quadrophenia in London (twice) with Dave Gilmore, Gary Glitter and Billy Idol appearing as special guests, and this show ranks right up there. Because Quadrophenia incorporates four different personality types from the original band members, The Who found a clever way to incorporate the late great Keith Moon and John Entwistle into the performance at various stages, that was both nostalgic and rather genius – definitely highlights of the show. (That’s all I’m going to say about it.) Whether you’re a super fan, casual fan, or just appreciate a great rock & roll show, if you ever get the chance to see The Who perform live, do it before they get old, because they sure didn’t look it last night.