The Who brought their 50th anniversary tour to the 3Arena in Dublin for the second and possibly last time on June 23rd. They were supported by the New York band, The Last Internationale (whose lead singer is very nice, I might add). The concert was originally scheduled for November 26th, 2014, but it was postponed last minute with no explanation. After the long wait, to say that I was excited when the day finally came would be an understatement.
While watching The Last Internationale, I realised that although it was still only the support act, it seemed to be one of the best crowds I have been a part of in a long time. Then minutes before The Who came on stage, a very tall John Lydon look-a-like stood right in front of me. Despite this, I still saw The Who’s entrance perfectly. Normally musicians like to make a big entrance to their concerts. Lights, intense music, fireworks – the works. That’s what I was expecting from The Who until I saw Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend stroll on to the stage with a cup of tea and a wave. It was probably the most down to earth thing I have ever witnessed. Along with them came Pete’s brother, Simon Townshend, and Ringo Starr’s son, Zak Starkey, on drums.
Opening with their first ever single ‘I Can’t Explain‘ from 1964, it was clear from the beginning that they sound the exact same live which is always something that I love to hear from a band. Some songs even sounded better live – like ‘Emminence Front‘. Half-way through the concert, they performed their song ‘Water‘, which they haven’t played live since 1971 and Roger sang the first verse and chorus solo.
Of course they played all of their greatest hits such as ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again‘, ‘Who Are You‘, ‘Pinball Wizard‘ and ‘Baba O’Riley‘ but they played then with more energy than I have ever seen from any other musician. Pete Townshend is 70 and Roger Daltrey is 71 but you would never think it judging by the performance they gave. They played 21 songs and performed probably the longest set I have ever seen, putting most young pop artists to shame. I was exhausted just looking at them.
While I knew that they were still very energetic and sounded amazing live, I still didn’t expect Roger to be able to pull of the vocals of ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again‘ as well as he once could. I was so eager to see how it would turn out and the pause before the big “YEAH” heard on CSI Miami around the world seemed longer than ever. When it finally happened, I saw it in slow motion and it felt like the entire arena shook. It’s safe to say that he proved me wrong.
When The Who first started this tour, Roger described it as “the beginning of a long goodbye” but I always thought that the two of them would still stay together as long as they could. With the news coming a few days later that the band would definitely stop touring after this year, I was glad to see them live while I could.