The Who's return to the road on their Moving On! tour Sunday night at Madison Square Garden in New York had more than a few bumps in the road.
Writing in his Backstage Blog, keyboard tech Brian Kehew says, "This will be a very difficult show to describe. Good? Yeah. Tricky? Definitely. Rough? Even more so. Entertaining? Absolutely! Success? In the end, yes."
Among the problems was only one day of rehearsal the day before in the arena.
Kehew writes, "Union rules make hour long breaks a requirement – no concern given if we need to get something done or are in the middle of it – you must stop and walk away..."
And during the show, among the issues were Roger Daltrey's in-ear monitors, which led him to say, "I remember when I used to have hearing. I call this the [late Who bassist] John Entwistle ear” – as he points to his right. “When these [ear monitors] are out, it sounds like ‘mumble-mumble-mumble’ [imitating John’s deep voice] . . . it sounds like he’s in there!”
Pete Townshend also had some problems as Brian says that just before "Eminence Front" he "seemed to have lost his voice. The change was sudden and notable. He asked for a lozenge, was supplied with several, and proceeded to jump into his first big vocal of the night. It worked, barely, but the result was the guitar work had an extra fury – which more than made up for the limited voice."
And then, during "5:15," Pete "ripped a fingernail up on his right hand. An awful thing for anyone, and there was a pause of a few minutes while the crew struggled to find the right solution for it. Pete noted that it didn’t really hurt now, but later on when he’s trying to sleep, it still pounds in pain..."
Towards the end of the show, Pete noted it wasn't smooth sailing. "I sincerely wish we were in better form tonight, we’re struggling. But there is so much love coming at us...”
And Brian ended his blog with: "This show was really rough, but the band were pulling as hard as possible to make it great, and the effort was noted. Flawless, no. But highlights abounded, and both Rog and Pete were stronger than many of the good shows from before – a great sign for this coming leg!"
Show two was last night (Tuesday) in Toronto, with St. Paul, Minnesota to follow on Friday.