I have seen some amazing shows in my life – hundreds of them. But when The Who rocked Dolby Live in Las Vegas November 4th and 5th, this had to be in the top five favorites of mine of all time if not number one!
I saw the Who in 2006 when they rocked the Mandalay Events Center but this show was completely different. For starters, they had a 40 plus piece orchestra. And there were many additions to their core band. But even without all that, if Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey were up onstage all by themselves, it would have been worth it as well. In fact, Pete and Roger walked onstage very humbly without any introduction. After all they don’t NEED an introduction!
The excitement started off with the orchestra playing all the music sound tracks for “Tommy” and then did them with vocals. From the amazing opening with the “Overture” to “Pinball Wizard”, “See Me Feel Me” to “Were Not Going to Take It”, this was legendary music by the most legendary musical artists in the world. With the lights and sound this was truly something historical and special for everyone in attendance. When I saw the movie “Tommy” as a young girl, I stayed in the movie theatre and watched the movie three times. So memories came flooding back with these musical masterpieces.
I leaped to my feet out of my chair immediately when the first note of “Baba O’Riley” and “Won’t Get Fooled Again” and many others as they rang through the venue and was on my feet singing along and dancing with excitement most of the show. There is a part where Roger screams during “Won’t Get Fooled Again”. I said he wouldn’t do it and my boyfriend said he would. He won the bet because Roger wailed the scream with all the power of a teen just like he has done for decades. Age has not crippled Roger or Pete. They have lost nothing over the years.
The best treat of the show had to have been when they had this amazing video playing which showed scenes of history with the orchestra and band playing in sync. It showed historic scenes from The Vietnam War, political figures Nixon, Trump, Biden, the deaths of Princess Diana, John Lennon, Jimmy Hendrix, and of course The Who drummer Keith Moon, and bassist John Entwhistle and so much more. It was so gripping and powerful with the images and music it brought me to tears.
Speaking of the band, Simon Townshend (Pete’s brother) was up front on rhythm guitar, Loren Gold was magnificent on keys, John Button was on bass (Pete mispronounced his name introducing him – it was hilarious) and of course Zak Starkey was on drums. I loved Keith moon when he played drums and no one can replace him but Zak seemed to fill his spot perfectly. I mean when you are the son of Ringo Starr and you were growing up knowing The Who and every legendary artist the magic is with you automatically to be a superstar like Zak was that night.
Pete was extremely talkative and personal to the audience all through the night telling captivating stories. Pete also mentioned that he used to not like to come to Las Vegas because it reminded him that bassist John Entwhistle died here. But he said he became more comfortable over the years and it felt like home. Pete and Roger are the most gracious and humble of them all and they made sure to thank the audience for coming and buying tickets and thanked the road crew as well as the band and orchestra.
I was very emotional throughout the show. This was the last show of the tour and I felt as though it might be the last time I ever saw this legendary band. Will they tour again? Pete is 77 and Roger is 78. So who knows?
I was backstage in 2006 taking photos of them but I never got a photo with Roger Daltrey. So I was so happy to run into Roger as I was leaving my interview with their opener The Wild Things before the Who’s sound check for a quick photo. And feeling like this was my last chance to ever grab a photo with him, I went for it. So with that accomplishment, the night was even more magical watching the show.
If I never see another concert in my life, I ended my run with the best one.
Photos: Sally Steele
Special thanks to Penny Guyon of Firefly Media for inviting me and credentialing me for the show!