THE WHO IN BROOKLYN - May 26, 2015

My roving East Coast Who correspondent Lisa Seckler-Roode has excelled herself with her report of last night’s show at the Barclays Center at Brooklyn in New York, the penultimate concert on this first leg of the group’s US touring schedule this year. Pete, Roger & Co now have three days off before Saturday’s final show at Forest Hills from where Lisa will no doubt send her final communiqué and some more pictures. Sounds like she enjoyed herself last night:

There are some nights that are pure unadulterated rock’n’roll nirvana. Magic. Ecstasy. Brooklyn, home of the original front-row-on-the-rail diehard we’ll-sleep-in-front-of-The-Fillmore-and-Madison-Square-Garden gang for tickets. (I know some of these people, and they are best avoided if you don’t know the significance of ‘I Saw Yer’ at the end of ‘Happy Jack, the name of the store that burned down next to the Fillmore when The Who debuted Tommy there in 1969, and the serial number of the SG that Pete lobbed to Binky at the Met in 1970 – CC.)
          Barclay’s tonight. This show was right up there with Toronto and Largo in 1976. That’s a pretty highfalutin statement, I realize that. However, that being said, there was the most punch, power and raw genius on that stage tonight than I’ve seen in an eternity. On the rail: myself, Lauren, Gigi, and her darling sweet eight-year-old Mehret, seeing them for the first time.
          Peppy opening with ‘Can’t Explain’, after which Pete told the masses it was great to be in Brooklyn and back in NY (cue crowd roar). ‘The Kids Are Alright’ – great guitar work by Roger, Pete & Simon; ‘I Can See For Miles’ introduced by Pete talking about playing Detroit with 25 people at the venue[1]. Absolutely stunning! Roger growling and hissing the lyrics, Townshend playing with the front row crew, giving a lesson on sustaining one string, harmonies and overall vocals spot on. Pete and Roger quickly glance at each other, Pete tells the crowd the next song was released before most of them were born, going on to say: “If you were alive when it was released, the special bus is available post show with wheelchairs and hot soup for after the gig”. Why did he look straight at me and start laughing after he said that? Gee thanks Pete! They then ROARED into ‘My Generation’, went into a jam at end of song, with Roger riffing on the vocals.
          It only got BETTER after that: ‘Slip Kid’, ‘Join Together’, ‘Eminence Front’, which I usually don’t like but tonight it was fantastic; edgy, jazzy and spot on. Then ‘Bargain’ and I haven’t heard such a KILLER version since the seventies, with Roger’s voice soaring, and another great jam at the end with Pete just shredding it, simply ripped it. I have this problem: when it’s good, REALLY good, I cry, and ‘Bargain’ brought the first bout of tears pouring down my face. ‘Behind Blue Eyes’: ditto, save no tears, just superb. My Achilles heel came next: Tommy, very dear to my heart for SO many reasons; for me, it’s always been the beauty of ‘Amazing Journey’/’Sparks’. As soon as Pete hit the opening C chord, he and Roger looked straight at me and nodded. They knew years ago that if I lose it, it’s beyond great and dear lord, it was BRILLIANT. Roger throwing the mike, Pete whirling, windmilling, lunging, and of course... the BIRDMAN, guitar suspended, Roger smashing those tambourines. I lost it. Gigi, Mehret, Lauren and I hugging dancing. I totally lost it, tears flowing again. ‘Baba O’Riley’... killer. “Nothing more needs to be said.”
          Roger and I were communicating now. I want Mehret to get a tambourine. Roger acknowledges. Roger sees me mouth “wow” and thinks I want water so he tosses the bottle he was drinking at me; slow motion upright in air without spilling drop UNTIL I CATCH IT, spilled but upright and we’re all hysterical as I have water dripping into my cleavage… now THAT’s rock’n’roll!
          ‘I’m One’: pure and achingly sweet; ‘Love Reign O’er Me’: one of the BEST I’ve heard in ages, Roger’s voice just soared, Pete rocking and dancing. ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’: tight and thrilling, Pete pouring sweat, jamming whirling lunging, drum break like shots fired. Pete jumps at end, Roger hands tambourines to the poor photographer in pit... I hand it to Mehret (Gigi’s jaw drops) and the second one to a little boy in the third row. Roger acknowledges both Mehret and other little boy, and shouts: “The next generation is here.”
          It’s now 2:30 am as I write this and my mind is still REELING: the best rock n roll band in the world, the best supporting players in the business, the purest definition… that’s The Who.

[1] Pete was probably referring to a show at Southfield High School Gymnasium, Southfield, a suburb of Detroit, on November 22, 1967, when he smashed an Epiphone guitar in the finale – CC.


Anonymous said...

Fantastic review by Lisa, whom I've met at Who shows and gatherings in NYC in some years past. This is what it's all about! Thank you Chris for posting this to your blog so every one can read her beautiful thoughts on this show. Love hearing that Pete reference that infamous Southfield 67 gig in Detroit. Roger even mentioned this concert at his Windsor, Ontario 2011 solo gig right before he performed the final song of the night, which was "Blue,Red,and Grey"
~ Marc Starcke

Unknown said...

Marc, shoot me an email to catch up. I took the boy to the Columbus 5/15 show so he can see the legendary band.