The Who have one show under their belts with the opening of their Moving On! tour Tuesday night in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Brian Kehew, the band's keyboard tech, has posted a recap on his Backstage Blog, and among his observations are:
"There was good planning done, but never enough time to be comfortable and coldly sure about it -- and it’s not The Who way... One of the reasons we love this band is the rough-and-ready side -- too much polish and slickness would not be good."
"The big moment, for many people was...‘Imagine a Man’...the first time The Who have ever played this live onstage. It seems to be a solid favorite for everyone now -- and I expect we’ll get to hear it (and maybe some more from The Who by Numbers?!) each night."
"'Join Together’ worked a little less-well -- and they mentioned it after, fair enough: Pete [Townshend] told a story about laying together all the original tracks he’d done, listing each instrument used -- and how he felt that competes a bit with the orchestral parts tonight. (However, there was a disconnect, as some time was lost between the band and the orchestra, and it was saved from total disaster by conductor Keith Levenson, who called an audible direction and suddenly took the whole orchestra forward one measure suddenly to bring the parts back in-line.)"
"An acoustic version of ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’ featured ferocious strumming/rhythm work from Pete; you’ve probably heard his various acoustic versions of Who songs before, it cuts down to the meat of the song, and how well they often work stripped to the core. Roger [Daltrey] also loves to play with these versions -- I swear they never rehearsed this once at all (to my knowledge) and just launched into it after having had the idea."
"‘Love Reign O’re Me’ ... As usual, this one takes the house down, but even more so than usual, as the orchestral/rock version is undeniably powerful. This was the evening’s big success moment, perfect for its placement here toward the end. I doubt it’s one people imagined about before coming to the show, but it is where the new formula put us well over the top."
"We’re SO grateful for the incredible playing of the Grand Rapids orchestral musicians, who played excellently -- and really made it a lot easier than was expected... ‘First nights’ have a sort of weird magic about them -- like a first-date, no one really knows how it’s going to be received, with all the newness and awkwardness being charming -- when allowed. The Nice said back in 1969, 'pregnant with promises and anticipation' -- we all felt that going in tonight, and it was wonderful to let the new show have life for the first time!"