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An overview of my RAH experience

My RAH experience started later than most, around 7pm at the Queens Arms, 
still great to hook up with Dino, Mike, Derick, Fred, Pieter, Paul (Major) Hans, 
Brian, Bjorn, Danielle, Rhi (codaqueen), Paul De Kievet, John, John Pywel, 
members of the Relayers, Grid and O&S et al 

So sorry I missed the Doveys, Crewey, Dave (smashed guitar), James, Benn K, 
John MP (keep you shirt on John ), Nigel Morton, Derek Evans, Trish, Jody and 
the other Stateside Wholigans. 

I could see the Doveys to my left and Nigel Morton, my other Brother Gareth 
in the box above and to my right. 

Thanks for the invitation to the Hilton post show get-together but we had a 
table booked near to our accomodation in Ealing waiting, so it was a hop inside 
our taxi and away straight after the show, I hope the post show party was a 
blast, and rounded off what was a fantastic day of events. 

Myself and Catrin, Nigel, Caroline, Gareth and his GF Elaine missed a fun 
night on Sunday I can tell, but it was impossible for us to get there on Sunday 
(due to our kids and school), as it was the taxi driver who hurtled through the 
narrow streets of the Mews on Monday got us to the Queens Arms as quick as he 
could, short of making it a Deathrace 2000 scenario!!! he did a great job 
bobbing through the chaos of peaktime London traffic. 

De Hems always a good atmosphere, and talking to a few Grid members, a fine 
time was had by all there, I think at this stage myself and our crew were all 
eating in a restaurant just down the road from where we were staying in Ealing 

Well I think I covered pre show chat, now wasnt there something else going 
on? Oh! yes! of course! something to do with two old Warhorses coming together 
at a nice little venue called the RAH 

For me it was my first return to a Who show since the incredible and 
unbeatable Watford show in 2002, and with this return came my first Who show in 25 
years without John. 

I was a mixture of emotions and feelings, excitement certainly but 
trepidation also, I kind of nervously sunk down a JD&C in the lower arena bar, chatted 
with John Pywel and Rhiannon from the Grid, then with the five minute pre Who 
warning, made my way into the arena floor. 

Now, 22 rows back sounded just too far away for me, I have never scored front 
row in 25 years, but then again I had never been this far back either, 
thankfully once into the arena I remembered how small the RAH is, and the distance 
was not a problem. Hell compared to the arenas usually played, this was still 
pretty intimate. 

I scanned the hall and clocked Ron, Chris, Nigel, John MP, Stussey and others 
in the stalls, plenty of faces recognised, the only thing I didnt do really 
was look behind, wasnt Haribort behind me?? 

With so little time before the Who hit the stage, my stomach was doing its 
usual acrobatics, fluttering, jumping and jigging with anticipation, the lights 
dimmed, the crowd rose in union to their feet, and the band hit the stage to a 
deafening welcome. 

Strange but I had totally forgotten how the Forum shows had started, and was 
unprepared for the WRU opening number, Pete darkened sunglasses insitu, suited 
and booted in all his finery, hammered in the first guitar chord, looking at 
the over stage screen, it was clear Roger was not well, he looked pale and 
sweaty and that was even before he executed his first spin of the mic 

Now what you have to take into consideration with my comments, is that I have 
no Forum shows to compare to, ie to me Pete was particularly subdued for the 
first quarter at least of the show, for others his mood may of been lighter 
than at the Forum shows, but for me, he did not seemed relaxed or happy. Maybe 
Pete was thinking that this was the first time on stage infront of more than 
just a hardcore audience (as in the Forum), there were more of your joe-public 
types here, and the media was also more present, he certainly had every damn 
right to feel uncomfortable for a while. 

My view continued to be uninhibited even now that everyone was standing, 
seems that most directly inline with me, were under 6 feet tall, so with my extra 
inch or so, I was able to gain a good view, the screen gave closer detail when 
needed particularly when Pete was exploring more into his finger work at the 

We all know the setlist by now, so I wont go over particulars, highlights 
were certainly, RGLB and the ORW segue from MG, this worked incredibly well, and 
waiting for that eruption into those crashing/thrashing guitar chords at the 
songs conclusion, had me punching the air and bouncing around (well as much as 
the 6 inches infront of me would allow). Gotto say I got a real kick out of 
watching peoples faces when RGLB was being played, I sung along to every word, 
and relished the fact that I was hearing the first new song played live by this 
band in years, the song was warmly received, and earned the band a raptuous 

AH! Power and volume!! and boy did the band crank it up during the final 
quarter, WGFA lifted the roof off the RAH, and seemed as loudly and ferociously 
played as I can remember. 

A low point, well yes there was one, during Sea and Sand I found myself 
waning a little in enthusiasm, I felt Rogers vocals truly did not do the song 
justice this time round, the song also just did not seem to flow as it did in 
96/97, but with this one quibble aside, the show totally rocked. 

Petes words regarding last years troubles, left me with a lump in my throat, 
but I kept it together Roger applauded Pete at the end of these words, and 
joined the audience in showing Pete that we do care and that we do support him, 
it clearly made him feel better, as from this point in, his mood clearly lifted 
and doing away with the shades, he exploded into an hour and a half of 
blitzkrieg guitar work. 

Yep The Who are still a mighty force to be reckoned with, the leaps were 
less, the windmills diminished, and the spinning lariot more contained tonite, but 
its still there, and this was my concern, I did not know and I wouldnt know 
until I came away. 

Setlist niggles, misleading press announcments and Tommy aside, Pete and 
Roger have every damned right to call this band the fucking Who!!! 

I walked to my taxi, sat down and realised that truly now 'it seems its just 
beginning', how long this chapter will last? who can say? but my spirit aint 
broken from this experience. 

Andrew  Rees

"As you can see, an encore is impossible.
We have drums everywhere. As they
go to the dressing room, please say an incredible
thank you to The Who."
                                  Compere Jeff Dexter
                                         The Oval 18/9/71