“It’s not nostalgia, it’s pre-history” explains The Who’s legendary guitarist Pete Townshend as he and an ensemble of talented musicians bring the seminal rock opera Quadrophenia to a close.
Wembley Arena is full to the rafters with keen fans lapping up what could well be the last UK performance of this production. With a stunning stage set-up and musicians spread across the stage, The Who get things going with a rip roaring rendition of ‘The Real Me.’
For the next 90-odd minutes, Roger Daltrey and co work their way through the iconic Quadrophenia album uninterrupted. It was a concert that had the feel of a real stage show, with no direct interaction with the crowd throughout and a screen behind the band showing archived footage it was a unique production, the likes of which we are unlikely to see again.
Although just two original members of The Who remain, both Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend managed to thrill and excite. Daltry was on top form with his exemplary microphone swinging, whilst Townshend’s guitar helicopters were as enthusiastic and frantic as some of the background archived footage which showed a much younger figure pulling off the same moves.
Tributes were made to the late John Entwistle, however the most touching dedication was made to Keith Moon during ‘Bell Boy’ in which footage of the drummer singing was met with a huge ovation as Daltrey emotionally stared up at the screen nearly 35 years after his death.
Watch The Who's performance of 'Baba O'Riley' below
As the last bars of ‘Love Reign O’Er Me’ reverberate around the arena, the nature of the show hit home as fans cheered in awe after witnessing a performance that was nothing short of phenomenal. With the album complete, Townshend went on to thank everyone on the stage and in attendance for being part of something “written in 1973 about events from 1963, performed in 2013.”
With heartfelt speeches and introductions out the way, there was some real fun to be had as the band launched into ‘Who Are You.’ Four more classic numbers from The Who followed and they even payed tribute to the man of the moment Andy Murray, with a message of congratulations on the big screen a day after his victory at Wimbledon. After ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’, most of the band departed the stage, leaving Daltrey and Townshend to perform ‘Tea & Theatre’ to the appreciative crowd. After over two hours on stage, the legendary figures leave and with that concert prove that there is certainly life in the old dogs yet.