Fw: Denis Digs The Who Downunder

Bruce bkawak at chartertn.net
Fri Jul 30 17:09:14 CDT 2004

Denis Digs The Who DownunderA review of the first Sydney show from a buddy of mine:

Well it finally happened.  As Bruce so eloquently put it - I lost my Whoginity.
We arrived in Sydney and checked into our hotel at about 1:30pm (I had to break several road rules to get there as I got trapped in a series of one-way streets and no-left-turn signs).  I parked the car in the Entertainment Centre carpark which overlooks the back entrance to the stage.  This proved invaluable as I got to see right in to the stage area while they were setting up and testing lights etc.  It also allowed me to spy a entrance gate which I didn't know existed and was right next to a sign that read "Stage Door".  This knowledge proved to be very handy later on(I think you can see what's coming here.).
Back to the hotel before ducking across to give the VISA card a workout at the merchandise stall - or so I thought - the selection was appalling.  There was not one single item specific to the tour - just a bunch of generic Who tees (at $45 each!), I think there may have been a cap and also a stubbbie holder (for $20 for chrissakes!).  The best deal was a repro Isle of Wight 2004 poster at, I think, $25.  But I have enough posters and so left the stall completely empty-handed! 

Our seats were absolutely kick-arse!  We were third row centre, pretty much dead in line with Pete which meant we were also pretty much dead in line with Roger as the pair rarely strayed more than a metre or two apart.  The front row was allowed to move forward to the railing which meant the second row were able to move right up to the backs of the front row chairs - ditto us and the second row so we had an absolutely unobstructed view of everything.  I guess we would have been about 5 metres away from R & P.

We sat through the support act - You Am I.  I like them, and have one of their CDs.  I couldn't figure out why Tim Rogers kept spitting everywhere (but then I saw Pete doing it later on so maybe Tim had inspiration).  The other guitarist was busily doing all sorts of Pete-style jumps throughout their set and he had a nice Hiwatt setup which was pleasing to see and got me in the mood.  I wasn't wearing a watch but I think it was just past 9pm when The Who came on stage - they just kind of ambled on and launched into ICE.  What happened over the next couple of hours is hard to describe - I think I was in some sort of bizarre dream-like daze for a lot if it but shit, it was the most awesome show I've ever seen.  The focus was very much on Pete, Roger and Zak - Pino and Simon were kinda off to the side and dimly lit  (except for Pino in My Gen).  Rabbit was a bit more visible but I don't really know why - I guess so he can act on cues from Pete.  On the far right manning some control console was who I assumed to be Bobby Pridden - he was just totally rocking out during the whole show.  The thing that struck me the most I guess was just how much energy Pete had.  I always thought Roger would be the last Who standing but now I'm not so sure.  Pete just attacked his guitar all night long and threw in plenty of jumps, windmills and loony jigs.  I left with a newfound respect for the man (as did Ross who up until that point had been rambling on about how great Steve Vai was who he saw on Monday night).  The set list was what you'd expect - we got a few extras over Japan.  Eminence Front was a nice surprise.  I see they got I'm One on night 2 - I would have preferred that over Drowned but I'm glad we got 5:15.  I'm pretty sure Roger screwed up the lyrics at the end of Substitute - reversing the verses.  I'll try to track down a copy of the TV footage.  Also, Old Red Wine caught me by surprise.  I'd only ever heard the soft intro (being too cheap to buy the CD) from Internet samples so when Pete launched into the guitar attack I just went "Holy shit!" - it was awesome.  Pete did most of the talking throughout but there wasn't that much of it.  He told us how "f'ing great" it was to be here and said he wanted to bring his son back one day and that they would come back and play again (I hope he didn't just mean the following night!).  The lights stayed down for quite a while after the encore and for a while the crowd felt we were going to get a second but it was not to be.  After the show a roadie threw a handful of picks out and I had to dive over some chairs to do it but I managed to grab one - it has "THE WHO" printed on one side and "28-07-04 SYDNEY" on the other.  There was also a broken tambourine but one of the crew souvenired it themselves.

I then went back to the hotel to grab the auto-hunt kit pack while I sent Berlinda (his wife) and Ross (brother) off to the stage door gate to wait for me.  When I got there a small crowd of maybe 60 or so were there.  Also a bunch of people who had returned to their cars parked in the overlooking lot were watching from above.  We got ourselves a nice spot up front and waited.  And after half an hour or so Pete comes out and happily comes over to start signing.  He was protected from the mob by the gate so he obviously felt fairly relaxed.  He worked his way along and eventually got to me - I took a leaf out of Joe G's book and had him sign the WGFA stage slide 8x10 from TKAA.  He was only signing one a piece but one was enough for me - it capped off the evening beautifully.  Berlinda got him to sign the My Gen LP which Roger had signed for me in 2000. Sweeett!  Just as Pete was finishing up our good friend Roger appeared and did the same thing.  Somehow we managed to get 4 out of him - LAL LP, Can't Wait To See The Movie LP, a 79 press photo of the band and I also had him sign the TKAA still.  Ross got them both as well on a WRU CD insert.  While this was all happening Pino and Rabbit came out - I would have liked to get them on index cards but they just smiled and waved and didn't come over - I think most people were focussed on Pete & Rog.  We then waited a further half hour (by which time there were only 3 other people waiting) before Zak came out with Simon.  I had a bunch of stuff for Simon and got 7 autos from him.  We just got Zak on an index card.  At one point Simon asked if Zak wanted to sign my copy of "Sweet Sound" to which Zak replied (good-naturedly) something like "Why the f would I want to sign that.  People are always asking me to f'n sign Who albums I'm not even on!".  We didn't get a chance to take any photos except at the end I think Berlinda got one through the bars of Simon & Zak.

So that was it - back to the hotel by 12:30.  I even went as far as downing a $5 mini-bar beer to celebrate.  I didn't sleep much that night.

Thus endeth my Who tale. 

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