The Who at The Roundhouse - Camden, London Oct 29, 2006
Photos by Drew Matich & Jon Pywell. See more Roundhouse photos by Jon here!
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- I Can't Explain
- The Seeker
- Who Are You
- Sound Round
- Pick Up The Peace
- Endless Wire
- We Got A Hit
- They Made My Dreams Come True
- Mirror Door
- Baba O' Riley
- My Generation / Cry If You Want / Old Red Wine
- Man In The Purple Dress
- Mike Post Theme
- Pinball Wizard
- Amazing Journey
- See Me Feel Me
- Listening To You
- Tea and Theatre
Review by Ozzie
I'd like to start my Roundhouse review by sending prayers and positive energy to Sue and Rabbit Bundrick. Rabbit, you are completely loved by all, and will surely be missed at the remaining shows. May the power of the universe give you the energy to deal with all.
At the time I heard about the Roundhouse show, I envisioned it as being the opposite bookend of the Leeds Uni show. I started the tour in England, and I was going to end it there, if it killed me. It didn't, but it did surprise me. After having attended the preceding three shows on the Northwest leg of the US tour, I was primed for an historical event in Camden. The band was fucking brilliant form during those last three shows in the States, at ease with the new material, and taking forceful ownership of most of it. Unless my memory is mistaken, the Roundhouse gig was billed as the complete 11 track mini opera, although as the details about Endless wire leaked out, it was apparent that the official mini opera was 10 songs, not 11. Not to worry, this was indeed exciting; up to that point, Wire and Glass was available with only six, what most people believed were abbreviated cuts, but common belief was that W&G was a condensed version of the mini opera, which would be delivered in full on the upcoming full release of Endless Wire.
To add to the intrigue, was the promise of 5 extra tracks, some of them debuted acoustically by Pete on ITA. So the drama commenced at about two AM MST, when the roundhouse put the tickets on sale. Ten or twelve hours later, frustrated, tired and ticket less, I opened an email dialogue with the roundhouse, and some hours later, good Who karma, and a couple of sympathetic ears, I had a pair of tickets. Show time rolled around, I had a fairly good space in the queue, and wound up one off the rail, just behind Paul from Holland, who happened to have a first place slot in the queue, I thought it was fairly acceptable, seeing as I spent about eight hours less in that queue. Positioned right in front of Pete's mic, I was ready. I purchased the Fratellis new disc on Saturday in order to familiarize myself with their music, as they were the opening act. A very interesting vinyl picture disc of their single was also available, which I picked up as well.
The picture disc was more to fill out the memorabilia around The Who officially debuting their new material. I listened to the Fratellis disc on and off right up to the moment they took the stage. I was very excited to see them, as I was really enjoying the new disc. The first chord told me this song was not on their debut platter. The Fratellis opened their set with The Seeker, which could not have been a better way for this show to get going. The rest of their set was quite enjoyable, although there is a remarkable difference between the quite polished, incredibly well produced album, and the high energy, and very raw live performance. The appetizer was done, and I was ready for the main course.
I created this show in my mind so completely that I was absolutely sure it was going to open with Fragments. I turned to Drew, who was directly next to me, and I asked him what he thought, and he definitively announced it would be ICE. No way, it's got to be Fragments I said, this show is all about the "new" music. In that moment I came to the realization that I was probably part of a minority that didn't care if the Who played any hits at all. I'd been listening to Endless Wire for a week straight, and it was the only "hits" I needed. So when Pete slammed out the opening chords of ICE, it was impossible for me not to be momentarily disappointed, but it quickly faded, as the band ripped through the song, Pete raging right out of the box. Next, they launched into The Seeker, which has consistently been a favorite for me, and ended the warm-up trio with WAY.
Putting aside my utter disappointment about them not treating the new material with enough respect to let it lead, I enjoyed the opening. There was some very spirited banter going on. With very little fanfare, they played the first cut of Endless Wire, Fragments. I love this song, and it was a very fine version, but more important, the full mini opera performance was now going to be the whole album, at least it was in my mind. The delusion was quickly enough exposed when they followed Fragments with Sound Round and the rest of the Wire and Glass version of the mini opera. For most anyone experiencing it for the first time, it would have been extremely impressive. Incredibly for me, this was my seventh live exposure to W&G, and they seemed a little out of step with what they were achieving before the break. I will be interested in finally getting a listen to the Leeds Uni version, which I remember as being brilliant, and seeing how much of a W&G snob I've become.
The set rocked its way towards completion, with a crowd surging version of Baba and a massive version of MG/CIYW/ORW. The Man In A Purple dress and Mike Post Theme combo was very well received. The always blazing Tommy three punch delivery brought the main set to a close, and then capping it off, as they have at every show I've been to, with a gut wrenching emotional version of Tea and Theatre, just Roger and Pete left on the stage. As they exited the stage, I knew that was it, and it should be, as there is, in my opinion, no better way to end these show. As the incredibly stoked up crowd chanted for more, and with the absence of the house music, I was soon drawn back in to the possibility they would return to fill in the missing pieces; it was not to happen. The lights and house sound system finally came up signaling the official end of the show, and the end of the week long BBC Electric Proms events. I looked around at the amazing venue that the Roundhouse is, milled about chatting up other fans and comparing experiences, and waited for Alan R to throw Pete's leftover picks to those interested enough to wait around. I was lucky enough to retrieve one off the floor, which I presented to my mate "Stussy," crazy enough to co-host my stay at his flat for the week, one of his many replies was that he didn't need anything else in life now that he had one of Pete Townshend's "plectrums."
The last thing I remember doing was filming some part of a story John H. was telling Allen M. about running into Keith M. dressed in what appeared to be ladies undies. When all is said and done, it was a fabulous experience, just not the one I was geared up for and expecting. No matter what, England is still my one of my favorite places on the planet, and without question, my favorite place to see a Who show.
Review by Melissa Dobbs
The Roundhouse show can be summed up in the two words "General Admission." I confess to both loving it and hating it. I landed in about the equivalent of sixth row center, and I felt an immediate energy that I could virtually feed off of and sustain myself on, even before the show started. The downside: Even at 5'9" barefoot, all it takes is one person's head to abruptly sever your connection with the band, which can happen at any moment. And since the audience is a living creature of its own, it's always moving.
I basked in the feeling of people pushed up against me, elbows flying, arms and heads akimbo, a sudden push from behind. I was all over it, sucking in the music, putting my head back, closing my eyes and belting... (then my head would bonk the chest of the guy behind me at which point I'd have to turn and say, "sorry!") The audience sucked energy from the band, and vice versa. There were a lot of fans; it was a small place; everyone was into it, and I was just one of many. I reveled in the anonymity and let my identity float. Since I decided this would be the year I'd truly shell out on the Who, I've had some of the best seats in the house at the US shows I've gone to. There is no replacement for the unobstructed space between you and the music -- and its creators --and I wouldn't argue that. But I was losing myself being one of a CROWD. I was liking it.
My heart was really in the mini-opera, more this time than before. Perhaps it was due to the WONDERFUL fan I was standing next to, whom I only know as David, (who had me salivating before the Who even came on with stories of Charlton 76.) I was more familiar with the new material than he was, which felt backwards but also endearing, in an odd way, because we listened to it and experienced it together. I suppose I have never felt "equal" to a veteran fan before, one who saw them with Keith. As the years go on, being a fan for 25 years vs. 35 doesn't seem as long disparate as 3 and 13, but if you're post-78, well, you know the feeling.
The vibe changed during Baba O'Riley, as a literal wave of people came gushing from the left, squishing many of us. Mayhem briefly ensued. A kind gentleman pointed out that a "fat fuck" was jumping around and pushing everyone out of their space. I looked over and observed the mini-mosh pit that aforesaid fat fuck had created, with him jiggling around in the middle of it.
Unfortunately, the fat fuck continued his antics into My Generation. I could not let this person ruin the WHO for me -- and many others. I kicked him hard in the ass; he lunged at me with a virtual aerosol spray of swears and epithets. He pointed out that this was the WHO. I noted that I had come from the US for this concert and was aware of that, and that he was ruining the show for many. He told me to fuck off several times. I finally got angry. I wanted him to try to punch me, as I knew everyone would come to my rescue and maybe he'd even get kicked out. He asked where my boyfriend was, and I said, "You got a problem with me, you take it to me." He said women shouldn't go to Who concerts. Unfortunately, too many people were holding us apart, so I couldn't get at him. The depth of my anger surprised me, but I don't take kindly to someone coming between the audience and the band. His friend later thanked me, but I was too pissed off to say anything. It was all later topped off by the guy screaming for "Magic Bus!" about 40 times. The important part: He moved, and I was again able to go back to the music.
The first half of the show gave me a great view of Roger, with Pete reappearing and disappearing behind people's heads and arms, including my own, not to mention cell phones held high, the new ubiquitous 21st century rock concert accessory. Toward the end some waves parted in the ocean audience, I got Pete straight on, and as far as I was concerned, he was singing for me alone. Every time he looked into the crowd, he was looking at me. His gaze could slay me. A touch of his guitar will bring me to my knees, reduce me to tears. I put my head back and closed my eyes...a lot.
I was lucky to have a fantastic guy right behind me who sang along with every song. I could hear him singing, almost in my ear, and it made me feel protected, looked after, okay. Here was someone who was in sync with my world. And he had my back. I get excitement at your feet.
So what is it?
I try to pick a fight at a rock and roll concert? Was it the violence of the audience? The violence of the band? Am I angry that I wasn't at Charlton, where the band and the audience were genuinely violent? Am I never going to get over my anger that I wasn't born ten, or twenty, years earlier?
Put your head back and scream "Love, Reign O'er Me."