Sydney2 review

L. Bird pkeets at
Mon Aug 2 01:28:58 CDT 2004

Repost from Whochat Forum:

>This was a SENSATION.

Am I ever happy.

And can I say up front - I had no problems with the set list. As some one 
else has pointed out, apart from five songs, the rest of them had never been 
played in Australia before and it was only my second time hearing any them 
in concert.

For the first show, I was in row 35, and had a brilliant time. For this show 
I was in row 7, in the middle. I went into the show having seen one great 
show and expecting nothing. I received everything. Very Baba.

My field of vision went from Matt Kent, squatting with his camera near Pino, 
to Bobbie Pridden (I presume) on the foldback mixer. And did Bobbie rock out 
all night.

I took my seat and put my backpack under the seat, then saw some people I 
knew further along the row across the aisle, so we piled into the aisle for 
a chat. Eventually I realized there was a bit of a commotion going on behind 
me and I looked around to find a squad of security guards had moved back the 
seats and were staring at my unattended backpack, thinking their worst 
nightmare had found them. There were apologies all round from the boot. I 
checked the bag into the cloakroom at intermission.

You Am I played better than the previous night with a bit more material I 
was familiar with. There was even more jumping and wind milling from them 
with Tim Rogers saying he doesn’t apologise for it, he learnt from the best 
and he thanked Pete for showing him he could do something with his body 
other than waste it. So they were revved up and having a ball. More happy 

Lights go down, crowd noise goes up, band wanders on, crowd stands up with 
an ovation again for just walking on. This really is a top spot that I’m in. 
Cant Explain kicks in tight as, and the sound is immense and crystal clear 
and clean. Far ******** out. Is it cause I’m up the front (I’ve never been 
this close at an arena gig before) and not getting the arena reverb wash, 
that makes it sound so good or is it the second gig improvements or maybe 

What ever, this is what I’d read so much about over the years, these guys 
creating so much power and intensity. I’m either yelling, singing or got the 
hugest grin on my face and I’m having a ball. Everyone is putting in with 
more intensity than last night, just like Matt says they do. Zak’s drumming 
is awesome, Pete’s belting the heck out of the Strats and Rogers singing is 
very powerful and on song with his mic lasso work getting a great work out. 
These guys are having a lot of fun and their happiness is transferring to 

By coincidence, I’d just finished a to and from work on the train book, and 
started reading Meher Baba Calling, a small collection of discourses. I’m 
not a follower but a close friend of my wife is a devotee and gave us the 
book I can’t come at the Baba is God trip but the other ideas are running 
along the same path as what the Buddha said and he and Baba say that 
happiness is found by making other people happy and it’s a big cycle, make 
someone happy and eventually someone will make you happy and so the note 
goes on.

Big chat before RGLB when Pete once again indicates that a new record is a 
happening thing. Pete apologises for taking so long to come back to 
Australia. Up close, both RGLB and ORW are good songs that are starting to 
feel like old favourites.

One great song follows another. I’m One is solo acoustic Pete.

My big moment came in The Punk And The Godfather. I was wearing a fairly 
loud yellow shirt while most people around me were in black or grey. I 
figured I’d be easier to spot in any photos that show my section of the 
crowd but I then realized it makes me more visible from the stage as well. 
In the quiet bit after a bit of the che che chee bwe wo dee stuff before the 
song takes off again, I had the biggest smile happening and shifted my gaze 
to Pete just as he, straight faced, started to do a bit of a scan of the 
audience and he looked my way and in that passing second our eyes met and a 
big smile came on his face and he moved on. So cool. He made me smile and I 
made him smile. The note goes on. What a blast.

Roger missed the cue at the start of Love Reign O’er Me and pulls the band 
up with “start again, the mic’s not working”. Funny, I can hear him. He 
drops the mic with a loud amplified thud and looks like he’s going to throw 
a tanty. Pete puts hands on hips and looks at him. Is there tension rising 
here? Pete moves to the mic and says to Rabbit “And you played that about 
the best I’ve ever heard you play it.” “It’s the mic,”says Roger. “You 
missed it,’ says Pete. He doesn’t miss it again. I love the way they’re not 
note perfect, even prepared to start a song again. Rabbit really does play 
that piece beautifully.

Pete has another long chat about how good it is to be in Australia and how 
happy he is to be playing with Roger and making the most of it since John 
died. If two 60 year old geezers can put out this much energy, there’s hope 
for us younger ones. That’s what I love about the Who, they inspire and show 
you don’t have to be perfect to have an effect. Pete says drinking is out of 
fashion in his part of the world now (or did he say that the previous 
night). What ever, I’ve done a bit of amateur comic acting and I know that 
after falling in love and having kids, performing on stage is the best drug 
there is cause its all about making others happy and what they give back 
makes you happy.

Talking about John, Pete does a very funny impersonation of having a 
conversation with John ( and in writing the mumble isn’t done justice) – 
“mumble mumble mumble” “Yes I know John” “mumble mumble mumble” “your 
absolutely right John” “mumble mumble mumble” “Yeah it’s a shame, John.”. 
He’s a funny fellow as other posters keep pointing out, the mark of a good 

These two shows have also revived my appreciation of My Generation (I hope 
to grow very old and still be bashing away on my guitar). I knew the song 
was coming sometime but when it does, it still comes out of the blue with 
such a rush it picks you up off your feet. Lovely jam in it as well and I 
really like ORW and there’s some nice feedback soloing. A few nights ago, to 
get in the mood, I was listening to the Holmdel gig from August 2002 and 
listened to MG for a change and heard a slice, or should that be a glass, of 
ORW that I’d never noticed before. It fair made my night that discovery.

When WGFA started, I got that desperate feeling I didn’t get the previous 
show, as I knew we were approaching the end of the show and I didn’t want it 
to end. I like the feeling of knowing at the previous show that I could come 
the next night as well, but conquering desires is part of the deal and the 
dream has come true and better (you bet). OK, I’ve been waiting for this for 
thirty years but I have not been let down, and my expectations have been 
exceeded. I’m still really buzzing, nearly a day later as I write this. Work 
is a lot of fun today.

Zak was putting out something else through WGFA and the drum led re-entry 
into Roger’s scream. As Pete said, though he may play with Oasis and Johnny 
Marr, The Who is now his home.

The band gathered after WGFA, took the applause and slowly wandered off till 
only Pete was left on stage wandering around in circles – he didn’t seem to 
be sure what he should be doing, leaving or picking up the guitar again as 
he took a step to the front and then back again, wave, front and back wave, 
front and back, wave and then off. The rest of us kept up the noise as the 
roadies put the guitars back in place and checked the mics and then they 
came back on for Tommy.

The Tommy encore was …….(add your own superlative here, I’m running out of 
them) and Pete obviously did have a problem leaving the stage as when they 
got to the end of Listening To You, after the rest of the band stopped at 
the point where they stopped the night before, Pete just hammered back into 
it again and the rest of the band picked it up and went with him for a 
fabulous coda.

“See you next time,” I yelled, a very happy chappy.

But you can’t please everybody. The guy next to me said, “I was here last 
night and it wasn’t as good, Townshend was a slouch tonight.” “I loved it,” 
I said and moved away from him real quick. He was in his fifties and had a 
leather jacket and a goatee and had been talking on his mobile between every 
song. I think he was sending the show to a mate. But fair dinkum, what is 
it? Was I looking too happy? Had I had too much fun and trod on his foot 
bopping away? Why did these guys at each concert pick me out to tell me they 
didn’t like the shows? I moved away and sought out the front of house sound 
guy and complemented him on the best live sound I’d ever heard.

No dumb ass rocker was going to put a downer on me. I was high as a kite and 
the one paper number I’d had at intermission had worn off an hour ago. How 
to keep this feeling going? I wandered into a pub on George Street that had 
pavement tables and had a couple of pints of James Squire Pilsner (a very 
fine Sydney brew) and watched the trams and people go by as I mulled over 
that I’d just seen the best concert I’d ever seen in my entire life. The Who 
had delivered and then done a whole lot more. That 12 year old boy who’d had 
a revelation hearing Substitute in 1968 had finally been to the top of 
Everest and the view is stupendous.

I missed the last train home and had to catch a cab with my ears humming, 
not ringing – it had indeed been a sensational mix.

24 hours later as I finish this, I’m still grooving on a cloud and drinking 
a Coopers (a very fine Adelaide brew) out of my Who stubbie holder, 
listening to Quad and I’m thinking, life is just so great, things do come to 
those who wait and we wont have to wait too long to do it all again and I 
know where to get a top spot.

Now I’m off to plug in my guitar, put on the headphones and have a bash.

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