Faster, Louder on Brisbane

Brian Cady brianinatlanta2001 at
Fri Mar 27 11:20:26 UTC 2009

The Who, Counting Crows, Dallas Crane @
Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Brisbane
Gig Reviewsby gumbuoy, 27th March, 2009

With an abundance of experience under their belt coupled with their reputation for being one of Australia’s best live acts, it comes as no surprise that Dallas Crane are supporting much anticipated The Who 2009 tour. Right from the get go, lead singer Dave Larkin maintained an intoxicating connection with the audience.

With so much energy filling the theatre, it’s no wonder these guys are so well known for their epic live shows. Curiosity, Wrong Party, and Dirty Hearts were definite crowd pleasers, with old favourite’s Sit On My Knee and No Through Road luring us in to discover the depth of the music.

Even though the 6:30pm start time meant it took a while for the crowd to build up, it was still obvious Dallas Crane is better suited to a younger audience. Nonetheless, Dave’s commanding vocals were engaging and dynamic, making it impossible to ignore how the band simply oozed passion and exuberance. A well deserved lively applause saw them off stage as Dave jokingly pretended to smash his guitar across the stage. A mixture of AC/DC, Led Zeppelin and Rolling Stones, Dallas Crane produced an explosive live performance – the type that gets inside your head and leaves you wanting more.

A completely different vibe was projected through the crowd as seven Counting Crows members entered the stage. One thing is for sure, lead singer Adam Duritz is still stuck in the 90’s, looking exactly the same as we all remember from the eminent Mr Jones film clip. Wearing a vivid purple t-shirt and jeans, he appeared casual enough for a stroll to the shops.

Getting straight into the set with unlikely opener Hard Candy, Duritz looked nothing short of goofy as he danced all over the stage, jumping up sporadically and busting out some much appreciated air guitar moves. Insignificant was next, followed by Have You Seen Me Lately, which confirmed his unique voice remained unchanged. In fact, his vocals were so powerful it sounded as though he could fill the whole theatre without a microphone.

Half way through Goodnight Elizabeth, Duritz paused to tell a personal story, over instrumentals, of a girl who stole his heart. The story seemed more like a well prepared speech, and I felt as though we were watching a film clip – his expressive hands flying everywhere the great deal of emotion in his voice felt more like an acting performance than a true connection with the audience. My thoughts were confirmed as the background instrumentals led perfectly back into the song, and Duritz carried out an over the top finish to Goodnight Elizabeth.

A slower tempo meant Omaha sounded nothing like the recorded version, and the set continued with well known tracks, All My Love and Saint Robinson. With nearly all of the audience seated for majority of the show, there was the exception of one overly energetic fan – centred smack bang in the middle of the front row – who seemed to be the only one feeding Duritz’s crazy liveliness back to him. Big Yellow Taxi was next, and Duritz’s intense in depth performance made me wish I was up on stage dancing goofily alongside him.

After Accidently In Love, Duritz spoke about another love, this time being a person he shouldn’t have fallen in love with. The entire performance was delivered with pure passion and energy. A Murder of One was a beautiful way to finish the show, demonstrating diversity and profoundness of Duritz’s voice. But, hang on a second! What about Mr Jones!? For all Counting Crows fans, no matter how big or small, this was a massive let-down. It would have been the perfect end to the well structured set, and a great warm up for what was to come.

However as The Who emerged on stage, it was evident that no such warming up was required – the whole crowd was going absolutely nuts! Original members Pete Townshend, wearing his trademark sunnies and hat, and Roger Daltrey looked vibrant on stage dressed in red and white respectively. Joining them were Pino Palladino, replacing the late John Entwistle* on bass, Zak Starkey (Ringo Starr’s son) on drums, and Pete’s brother Simon Townshend also on guitar. After the cheers eventually died down they explosively began I Can’t Explain, instantly confirming these old codgers have still got it.

The audience time-travelled back to the 60’s as the large backdrop behind the stage featured old school mesmerising videos and pictures, showing so many varied and interesting clips it was impossible to peel your eyes away from it. With The Seeker up next, they were already showing off their signature moves – Daltrey swinging his mic all over the stage, and Townshend the windmill guitar move which will always be imitated by artists, but never rivalled.

The sounds of the opening cords of Who Are You were greeted by screaming crowd, who had already immersed themselves in the music, enjoying every moment of this thrilling live performance. This was, after all, classic rock at its best. A pair of blue eyes animated the backdrop preparing us for Behind Blue Eyes, which showed a poignant side to The Who.

The audience was then socked in an ocean of blue and purple lights as Townshend informed us of his hate for ‘disco’ music. “We had a future vision, kind of like the internet but not quite,” he joked. “We hoped and dreamed disco would die. But it unfortunately didn’t! We wrote this next song as a goodbye to disco..” Sister Disco was the song they were talking about, and was projected a vibe that was so much more than just a show or performance – it was an experience.

Baba O’Riley got a lot more heads bopping and feet tapping. Out Here in the Fields was paired with a video containing the song’s lyrics, and for me it was one of the most memorable moments of the night. Daltery busted out some epic harmonica solos, and as the music quickened the song finished on an impressive thunderous climax. The Who energetically travelled through songs Eminence Front, 5:15 and Love, Reign O’er me, proving they deserve the title as one of the greatest rock bands of all time.

Daltery’s powerful voice was still as prevailing as ever – boy this man can sing! “Everything has been so fabulous… We know you don’t like us poms complaining!” he joked. “Australia is such a great place. You really are all so lucky.” The audience applauded before Townshend made a comment on how good planes are these days, “You can lie down, shut the door, and even masturbate if you want! ‘I’ll have a large vodka and a condom please!’”, he laughed. You Better You Bet was then introduced with “We believe in nothing at all but sex, so this next one’s for you!”

The hits just kept on coming, with sing-a-longs My Generation, and Won’t Get Fooled Again amping up the whole audience. Daltery and Townshend wrapped their arms around each other and waved goodbye as they left the stage. After a good couple of minutes of screaming middle aged fans, the band remerged for the encore. “We just wanted to get back to the beach!” they joked. The whole audience was still applauding and screaming tremendously as Townshend mocked them, “Ah-loh-loh-loh-laaaa, do you guys really think I can hear you right up the back there! I’m fucking deaf!” The crowd laughed and applauded as they began The Kids Are Alright, noting the next few songs would beg familiar for the older generation of listeners out there. The encore continued with Substitute, and Pinball Wizard, and by this stage more and more people on the bleachers were up, dancing and singing, simply living the moment.

After an extremely long and fantastic instrumental end to Overture, The Who closed the encore with See Me, Feel Me/Listening to You. The band then left the stage, and audience members were treated with a stunning version of Tea & Theatre – a perfect way to end the night. Even though The Who may have been around since the 60’s, and Daltery and Townshend may now be well into their 60’s, they can still conjure so much passion and luminosity that tonight they were able to electrify and astound both old and young viewers. For me and many others who witnessed the show tonight, we will recall it as the most memorable and mind-blowing performance to date – cementing The Who as the greatest live band ever.

 -Brian in Atlanta
The Who This Month! 


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