Sunday, 17 July 2011

Roger Daltrey at The Sage

Roger Daltrey
The Sage, Gateshead

I've never seen The Who play live, but I'd like to. Rumours abound regarding a new CD and a possible tour, but a lot depends on the state of Pete Townsend's ears. A lifetime of loud music has left them in a perilous condition.

Meanwhile, Roger Daltrey knows he has to keep singing or lose the power of his magnificent voice. This tour, 'Roger Daltrey Performs The Who's Tommy (plus Who Classics and More)' is set in that context.

Arriving on the stage to a magnificent reception (I don't think I've ever seen a better one), mug of tea in hand, Roger made it clear that this wasn't a show aspiring to match The Who, but that we were all here to have a really good time. It was the start of an unforgettable two and a half hours.

Without further ado, the band struck up the Overture of Tommy, with Roger bashing away on the tambourines in time-honoured tradition.

It wasn't long before we were being treated to the famous voice and classic poses.

The classic 'Tommy' was played in its entirety during the first half of the show. The rock opera, with it's amazing tale about a deaf, dumb and blind boy (becoming a messiah figure via a spell of pinball wizardry) can be appreciated on various levels. There's no doubt that the songs are varied and very catchy, taking the listener on a roller coaster journey.

The microphone gamely endured Roger's famous swinging punishment!

Frank Simes is a much-travelled guitarist. I enjoyed his work on Mick Jagger's 1993 'Wandering Spirit' album.

'Tommy can you heeeeear me...!?'

Simon Townshend is Pete's younger brother. A highly accomplished musician in his own right, Simon has also been a long-term supporter of The Who's tours (and with Roger's solo events).
Simon sang Pete's 'Tommy' parts.

Scott Deavours and his drums were behind perspex shields. Roger is experimenting with various sound systems to minimise damage to his own ears, partly in preparation to bring Pete back onstage for a future tour.

Loren Gold (keyboards) and John Button (bass) completed the line up.

Tommy Set List

It’s a Boy
Amazing Journey
Eyesight to the Blind
Cousin Kevin
The Acid Queen
Do You Think It’s Alright
Fiddle About
Pinball Wizard
There’s A Doctor
Go to The Mirror
Tommy Can You Hear Me
Smash The Mirror
Miracle Cure
Sally Simpson
I’m Free
Tommy’s Holiday Camp
We’re Not Gonna Take It

There was still plenty more to come...

Frank lifting his hat to prove, (in Roger's words), that he '....aint wearing a syrup under there.'

'Anyone fancy a bit of Johnny Cash?' asked Roger, but the audience was lively and preferred to hear more rock numbers.

Roger was clearly delighted to play several songs that The Who don't normally do live anymore, such as 'Tattoo', 'Pictures of Lily' and 'Going Mobile'. He explained that John Entwistle used to to excel on the high-pitched vocal parts, but that one day he turned up with a much deeper growl and it ruled out a number of songs for good.

'Who Classics and More' Set List

Who Are You
Pictures of Lily
I Can See for Miles
Behind Blue Eyes
Real Good Looking Boy
Days Of Light
Going Mobile
Young Man Blues
Baba O’Riley
Blue Red and Grey

Goodbye to the band!

More tea before the final number.

Roger and his ukelele closed the show with a charming rendition of 'Blue Red and Grey'.

It was easily one of the loudest shows I've been to. It was also one of the most enjoyable and uplifting. For a man who famously sang 'Hope I die before I get old', this 67 year old sings and plays as if he is still enjoying the prime years of his life. If you have the chance to catch the tour, make sure you don't miss it.

For further details regarding the tour, head for the official page. Downloads are available too, although they appear to offer just the 'Tommy' part of the evening.

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