The Who – Live at North Harbour Stadium, AK. Sat 21 March 09


I had high expectations and levels of excitement when I heard the Who were coming to town. I bought an expensive ticket, happily knowing that I was going to be witnessing a huge part of my musical DNA. However, as the concert approached two things ignited flares of doubt in my mind – 1) the fact that the Counting Crows were opening (wtf?), and 2) a disturbing interview I read in Groove Guide with Pete Townshend the day before the show, in which Pete said he hated the Who, wanted to leave, and that he wasn’t even joking. I reassured myself by trying to remember whether Nickelback opened for the Stones, and that concert turned out to be my favourite ever; plus the fact that Pete has always been a slight bummer…

Anyway, the night of the show arrived and on the journey to my seat I encountered an unexpected crowd– extremely drunk bogany/westie/white trash types who were oldish, but didn’t seem old or intelligent enough to be proper Who fans – if intelligent is the word I’m looking for here?? I ended up in a prime position though– I was as close to the stage as I would have been at any pub gig, and I soon forgot there was a stadium full of people behind me. Suddenly, Roger and Pete appeared on the stage without much ado; and to my slight horror, Roger was carrying a mug of tea – way to amp us up, Roger. Pete came out looking like a tired, shabbily dressed old man in Hallensteins garb. I must admit, I was comparing and expecting this gig to equal the Stones, who had everything from the clothes to the attitude from the get go.

When they started to play and sing I could hear the Who; Roger and Pete still have their musical talent. The backing band were great too, but the focus was definitely on Daltrey and Townshend, as it should be. They will both forever be icons, but I think they lacked energy, and seemed slightly over it. I probably expected way too much, but can you blame me? Oh to see the Who in their heyday when they were smashing their instruments and popular attitudes, changing lives and carving a jagged path into music as we know it today. I still appreciate the fact I got to see them – and decided to spend my time taking as many pics as I could to immortalise this experience in my life.

:: Darlene Brown