One to Watch: The Who & Special Guests Live at the Royal Albert Hall (2000)
On episode 49 the boys talked about streaming some cool gigs on their PlayStations and it got me thinking, what are some of the really good live shows that you should check out? Stay tuned to our new feature One to Watch where we cover some iconic performances which you wouldn't want to miss, first up is one of my personal favourites.
Following the decision to resume touring in 1999 The Who put on some fantastic live performances reminiscent of their heyday in the early 1970's. The first recorded live show from this tour was in aid of the teenage cancer trust, a charity which helps to bridge the gap with medical care for those kids who are too old to be stuck in a children's ward but too young to deal with being in adult wards. The charity has done some amazing work to help teenage cancer sufferers to get treatment in a suitable environment and one of the benefits to the public is the annual charity gig the organisation put on.
Joining the band on stage are the likes of Noel Gallagher (Oasis), Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam), Kelly Jones (Stereophonics), and Paul Weller (The Jam) to name but a few. What makes this performance so amazing is not just the number and (undoubted) quality of the guests but this is one of the best live performances The Who have ever released. Yes the band may be getting on a bit and Roger may struggle with the odd note but they are in my opinion at their musical peak at this point.
It is often difficult for an ageing rock band to retain the impact and energy that they had in their youth but something that The Who did here, and more recently Led Zeppelin have done is to bring in a young, talented drummer to back up the well oiled machine with some youthful exuberance. Bringing in Zak Starkey on drums was certainly an inspired decision, Ringo Starr's son was a perfect match for the band both in look and playing style, he is as close to watching Keith Moon as you can get and without actually trying to emulate his style he captured the essence of his drumming beautifully. Keith was one of Ringo's closest friends and godfather to Zak, he brought him a drum kit when he was eight and although neither Keith or Ringo taught him to play it is fitting that he ended up sitting behind the skins on one of the best live performances The Who have recorded.
The set was impressive, a cross section of their hits and some more personal and moving songs such as Drowned off Quadrophenia and Heart to Hang Onto which was a song PeteTownshend wrote with the late Ronnie Lane from the Small Faces. Two beautiful songs performed by Pete on his own, the impact is just immense and if you are any kind of musician you need to watch his performance.
I haven't even talked about John Entwistle yet, the Ox is arguably the best bass guitar player of all time and you only have to watch his performance on this dvd to realise why. His incredible solo on 5:15 (another Quadrophenia classic) will leave most guitar players scratching their heads, he wasn't nicknamed thunderfingers for nothing! Fitted to the head of his bass is a camera to capture his furious digits in all of their glory but even then you can only gaze open mouthed at just how awesome this guys was. He sadly died two years after this performance but boy did he go out on a high, he was in my opinion as influential on bass as Jimi Hendrix was for guitarists.
I was lucky enough to see them on tour in 2000 with Starkey on drums and I was blown away, this show at the Royal Albert Hall was the culmination of that tour and the dvd is just a fantastic live performance, it's up there in my personal top gigs of all time and is worthy of a spot in any collection.
Next up? RUSH