The Who at the TD Garden in Boston Massachusetts, March 7, 2016
This year The Who embarked on “The Who hits 50 Tour!” Well, actually, the tour was originally scheduled for 2015, but after Roger Daltrey contracted viral Meningitis they postponed the 2015 North American tour to 2016. I decided to purchase one of the VIP packages to get access to seats in the front sections on the floor of the Garden. The VIP package also included watching the band’s sound check and some food and drinks before the show.
We weren’t allowed to photograph during the sound check. It didn’t really matter because we all had to sit starting in the second section back on the floor – not down in front – so we were pretty far away. The sound check was exactly what you would have expected it to be. The band walked through parts of several songs while the sound for both their monitors and the PA system was adjusted. For instance, Pete Townshend asked for the base drum to be boosted – he couldn’t hear it well in his mix.
The Sound Was Great
The band is touring with six additional musicians along with Pete and Roger, and their sound is full and complete. From recreating their hits from the 1960’s to their epic Who’s Next and Quadrophenia anthems (see the entire set list here), the music was everything you would want it to be. As The Who’s music became more complex and rich over the years, a four-piece band (guitar, base, drums and vocals) just wasn’t enough to recreate what they were doing in the studio. For instance, I was always struck with how the bottom seemed to fall out of the music during their Woodstock performance of “We’re Not Gonna Take It” during Pete’s guitar solo. It’s an epic version – emotional and raw – but, for my tastes, I always felt the energy dropped significantly because there wasn’t a driving guitar sound behind the solo. The extended lineup fixes this completely, and I’m sure it’s why they’ve toured with the extra musicians for years.
If I were asked by someone to describe rock and roll, I would have them listen to Who’s Next. This album contains some of the best rock anthems ever recorded. On this night, The Who played Behind Blue Eyes, Bargain, Baba O’Riley and Won’t Get Fooled Again and I was in heaven. Pete said he thought Who’s Next was their best album sonically and his favorite track was Bargain. The energy that gets generated from the audience as Roger belts out those signature screams during these songs (amazing at his age) was awesome.
The crowd stood from the moment the house lights went down to begin the show (the screen behind the band announced the start of the show by saying “KEEP CALM. Here comes THE WHO.”) until the very end. The Who didn’t bother with a fake encore, choosing to introduce the members of the band and say goodnight after Won’t Get Fooled Again.
Overall I had a ton of fun at the show enjoying both the music and taking photos. Let me know what you think of them!