Advantages A superlative series of concerts from my "Band of the Century"
Disadvantages We're unlikely to see their likes again
“So here we are. Back in the USSSK. No easy-to-find petrol, no trains, and charter airplane flights through storms that toss me around like the leaf I really am. But somehow we and the fans have got to every show … Is it sad to be 55 and still doing this sh*t? You tell me” – Pete Townshend Nov 2000North American Tour 2000. Tampa Ice Palace. September 26th 2000.
The American Tour had been planned and advertised months in advance. We have a property interest in Tampa, Florida and we need to make an annual visit for business purposes. We were therefore able to arrange our trip to coincide with the show at what is now called the St Pete Times Forum. We also discovered that our accountant had also booked to see the show and we made an evening of it (dinner, the show, drinks) from our base at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Downtown Tampa. The following day there was an exhibition of paintings and drawings and lithographs by John Entwistle in a local gallery in St Petersburg. A few of the limited edition lithographs are still available but at very much inflated prices (the album cover “Who By Numbers” limited to 350 copies - $1500)
It was luck rather than design that we were able to attend two concerts within a period of six weeks. I had tried to get tickets for the concert at Shepherd’s Bush Empire the previous December but such was the demand that they were sold out almost immediately. The only tickets left were in the hands of the package agents at astronomical prices.
We were surprised when the UK tour was announced and even more amazed when Newcastle was one of the slated venues. I originally wrote the review of the concert which follows, immediately after the Newcastle event.”This tour, now in its UK phase, has taken the world by storm. The line up is a tight five piece, having dropping the ever expanding brass section and support vocalists. Gone are the Union Jack jackets and backdrops. The Who now comprise Roger Daltrey (vocals), Pete Townshend (guitar, vocals), John Entwistle (Bass), John ‘Rabbit’ Bundrick (keyboards) and Zac Starkey (Ringo’s son - drums). There was more than a little surprise and scepticism from the media when the tour was announced in the autumn of 1999 – but show after sell out show, review after review has confounded the pundits. So, has the hype been justified and, equally, has the standard been maintained?
Judith and I have seen The Who on stage twice (once in the US and once in the UK) this year. We also went to see Pete Townshend perform Lifehouse at Saddler’s Wells, London in February. We flew over to Tampa on business in September and timed it to coincide with the Ice Palace concert. Last night it was the turn of our home town arena. We took with us a friend who hadn’t seen The Who live since 1973 and our 13 year old son who hadn’t experienced a rock concert before.There were some differences of course. Last night the weather was atrocious (three inches of rain in 12 hours, storm force gusting winds) whereas six weeks previously it was warm and sunny in Florida (although a hurricane had skirted the Bay area the previous week!
|Booze and nosh|
|Variety of music||Excellent|
|Accessibility to various stages||Excellent|
|Facilities (campsite, toilets, creche, etc.)||Good|
|Sound quality/rigging of stages||Good|
|Value for money||Excellent|
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