The Who, Abu Dhabi 23 November 2014

When I was buying the Who’ Greatest Hits in Wellington in the 80s and dreaming of Carnaby Street in the 60s (Way before Austin Powers, Baby!) I never imagined I would be able to see them live. They were one of those iconic crazy assed bands at the forefront of youth rebellion; take over the world or die young trying. They even wrote a great song about it. Fortunately, only one of them did, (died young that is/not took over the world), Drummer Keith Moon, the craziest of them all. Unfortunately, and strangely they didn’t play My Generation last night, their biggest hit and rated as one of the greatest rock songs of all time.

It is a bit weird watching concerts in Abu Dhabi sometimes, as unlike other places in the world there are not legions of fans that will die for a ticket, pack a place out and create an electric atmosphere. When you get a older band like the Who, most of the crowd don’t really know the songs and what they are looking at and that can make for a flat atmosphere sometimes, like last night. The November concerts are worse because they are linked to F1 tickets, so you get a lot of F1 fans just going because it is free and they are there on a package. On the plus side you can always get a ticket, often free and you can always easily get near the front. I must be getting spoilt☺

The music was good. Roger Daltrey has still got the voice and lead guitarist Pete Townshend has still got the stuff. Their backing band was definitely in the background so it seemed more like a two man show but they were stars. Big guitar riffs, the signature round flourish on the guitar from Pete and the big voice, blues harmonica and poetical, lyrical cries for freedom from Roger; a world and a lifetime away from today’s shite.

The big screen featured footage from Keith Moon (made Keith Richards look normal) and the other dead founding member John Entwhistle; I have never seen a man play the bass guitar like that, magic.

The Magic Bus of the 60s must seem a lifetime away for Roger and Pete. Once, back in the day they were playing to audiences full of drugs, rebellion, inspiration and possibility. They blinked and yesterday played to a largely older, corporate crowd in bright F1 shirts full of nostalgia and listening politely.

Unfortunately, they did nt finish by smashing their guitars into the speakers or playing that song. Maybe they thought we didn’t deserve it. Maybe they didn’t want to offend the audience………

…I hope I die before I get old….its too late Man. — with Isabella Dennett and 2 others.


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