On 18th June 2013, I went to the Sheffield Motorpoint Arena to watch The Who perform their Quadrophenia album live in its entirety, as well as some of the bands greatest hits.
The Who are one of the most famous bands of all time. Formed in 1964, the group – originally made up of Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, John Entwistle and Keith Moon – have sold around 100 million records worldwide. As soon as I heard the band, with surviving members Daltrey and Townshend, were coming to Sheffield as part of their ‘Quadrophenia and More Tour’, I knew I wanted to go and I was fortunate enough to get tickets for the show at the Motorpoint Arena.
After purchasing the tickets at the start of February, there was a lot of anticipation for what was going to my first ever arena concert. The date finally arrived and we made the short journey to the arena as show time approached. There was a great atmosphere outside the venue, with fans wearing all kinds of Who merchandise and lots of ‘mod’ scooters parked around the arena.
We took our seats in the seating area of the venue shortly before the supporting artists, Vintage Trouble, came on stage. The American blues rock band, formed in 2010, played an entertaining set lasting around half an hour. Lead singer Ty Taylor doing a fantastic job of warming up the crowd with an energetic performance which saw him leave the stage and join the audience on a number of occasions.
There was a short break before the main event and the excitement built inside the arena. The venue suddenly plunged into darkness and a video played on the big screens while the introductory part of the album, “I am the Sea” played. The stage then suddenly burst into life as Daltrey and Townshend blasted out “The Real Me”.
The two men, along with their backing performers, played out the entire Quadrophenia album, The Who’s second ‘rock opera, including the likes of “5:15” and ‘Love Reign O’er Me”. This tour was the third to include the album, having previously toured with it in 1973 with little success before revisiting it for a tour in 1996-97. The Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield was the sixth night of the European tour, having done a North American tour towards the end of 2012 and start of 2013.
Lead vocalist Daltrey, aged 69, and lead guitarist Townshend, 68, gave fantastic performances to the packed out crowd – playing the songs just as energetically as they did when the album was released a remarkable 40 years earlier. The band also commemorated the two original members of the band who are no longer with us during the show. Drummer Keith Moon, who died in 1978, appeared on the big screens in “Bell Boy” singing and playing a remarkable drum solo while bassist John Entwistle, who died in 2002, also appeared on the big screen during the song “5:15” playing a simply incredible bass solo.
As the group played the final song of the album, “Love Reign O’er Me”, the first part of the show drew to a close to rapturous applause from the audience. Daltrey and Townshend then had a bit of banter with the joyful crowd before breaking out into the hits encore. Starting with “Who Are You”, they followed this up with the classics “Behind Blue Eyes”, “Pinball Wizard” and “Baba O’Riley”. The highlight of the evening then came for me with the penultimate song – “Won’t Get Fooled Again”. To see one of the greatest songs of all time played live, with the unmistakable opening tune and of course Daltrey’s famous scream, was an incredible experience and something I will never forget.
A final song was played, a ballad called “Tea and Theatre” from the latest album “Endless Wire” to draw what had been a fantastic evening’s entertainment to a close. I am delighted that I got the opportunity to see The Who live – one of the greatest and most famous bands of all time – and I had an amazing and unforgettable night.