The Who, Paul Weller - British Summer Time
Friday 26th June 2015
Hyde Park, London
Within the last week, guitarist Pete Townshend announced that he expects The Who to end this year, 50 years after their debut single ‘I Can’t Explain’, although he added that he may well continue to work with singer Roger Daltrey under a different band name. Following the show’s final song ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’, Townshend referred to the band’s anniversary and told the Mod army: “We didn’t think we’d last until the end of the week when we started. There were punch-ups every day. But then we lasted a year, and here we are. And you’ve been there for us.” When the crowd began The Who’s signature chant of “We are the Mods” Townshend said: “You’re not Mods, you’re all too old to be Mods. We are the sods.”
Before ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’, which was released as a single in 1971, Townshend paid tribute to the band’s late bassist John Entwistle, who died of a heart attack in 2002, and drummer Keith Moon, who died of a drug overdose in 1978. Introducing bassist Pino Palladino, Townshend said: “Replacing John Entwistle was a hard job, as he had such a unique style. But this guy is probably the best bass player in the world today.” Introducing Zak Starkey, the former Oasis drummer who is the son of Ringo Starr, Townshend said: “You’ll have seen pictures of Keith Moon on the big screen behind us tonight. When I see them behind me, I miss him terribly. But before Keith went, he gave this guy a drum kit, so in a way Zak studied at the feet of the wanker.” Hilarious!!
The Who’s set began with the big screens displaying a pictorial essay about the band, including sections dedicated to their previous shows at Hyde Park, the story behind their trademark ‘target’ logo and a history of guitar smashing, which Townshend popularised in the 1960’s.Before opening song ‘I Can’t Explain’, Daltrey told the crowd: “You’re all a long way away, but we will fucking reach you.” Indeed, the fact that the Barclaycard Presents British Summer Time festival sold out 65,000 tickets in advance showed that The Who are still reaching as many people as ever.
Introducing 1965 single ‘The Kids Are Alright’, Daltrey initially said it was dedicated to Paul Weller, saying: “This song is for a special friend. I don’t usually do requests, but this for Paul Weller, who asked us to play it.” However, Townshend interrupted Daltrey to announce: “I thought we were playing something else.” A laughing Daltrey confirmed his mistake, saying: “I fucked that up. I write these setlists the night before a show and always forget them. That time of my life when I forget everything is sitting on the doorstep.” Townshend told Daltrey: “You’ve been saying at concerts recently that I wrote this one for you. But once you write them, they don’t belong to you anymore, they belong to everyone. And I reserve the right to sell them to car companies. Until I do, this one is for you. It’s ‘The Kids Are Alright......’”A public dressing down of the highest order showing those old legendary tensions are still there!! Personally I think it's great they have now these senior moments. Most of the audience and us Wrinklys can relate to that!! No problem with showing your age in my view...
Next song ‘Pictures Of Lily’ was actually the track Weller had requested, which Townshend revealed by saying: “Paul Weller brought back interest in the Mods and we’re honoured to be playing with him. He requested this by email. We haven’t played it for a few shows, so it’ll probably be crap.” The comments reinforce the sense that this tour, is being done for the love of the songs, and keeping the sound alive, as much as any monetary motivation.
The big screen mainly showed Pop Art-style cartoons, but black-and-white footage of The Who playing a club was displayed during 1965 single ‘My Generation’, while a message asked fans to hold up lighters during 1971 single ‘Behind Blue Eyes’. Daltrey, wearing purple-lensed sunglasses that matched his shirt, played a harmonica solo during 1971’s dramatic ‘Baba O’Riley’ (yes, I was one of the thousands of fifty and sixtysomethings singing, “It’s only teenage wasteland”!!), uniting the generations and banged two tambourines together in 1969’s ‘Sparks’. Townshend demonstrated his signature windmilling guitar style throughout the two-hour set, starting as early as the second chorus of I Can't Explain!! Daltrey brought an urgent, bluesy feel to ‘The Seeker’ while ‘Who Are You’ sounded as breathless and full of verve as ever. What I found interesting was that many fans were of an even more recent vintage. As a measure of The Who's longevity and appeal there was a smattering of Parka wearing teenagers in the audience, replete with red, white and blue target badges. "I can sense a lot of people don't know this music," said Townshend before an intense version of 1971's ‘Bargain’. "But it's a pleasure to play it to those of you that haven't heard it before.” And a lot hadn't...!! For a band with such a vast back catalogue, including two rock operas, medleys become the only option when faced with a two hour curfew. This sees Quadrophenia given a particularly select outing, with only two songs played, but Daltrey comes into his own on ‘Love Reign O’er Me’ - the vocals still outstanding. They stopped playing 12 minutes before the strict curfew which suprised me a bit as I expected time for ‘Substitute’ to be played but it wasn't to be sadly..
As the band left the stage, Daltrey said: “What a wonderful evening, what a wonderful city. I can see a lot of people have travelled from many countries to be in London tonight and we welcome you. We congregate. We don’t come to concerts, we come to fucking congregate.” It remains to be seen if we have congregated with the band for the last hometown show. Next stop was Glastonbury on the Main Stage by the way... After that Paris and the US and then whatever?? If, as Townshend has suggested, this really is the last hurrah for The Who, then this was a stirring, moving and memorable farewell to London. .
Before The Who’s show, Paul Weller, the obvious heir to The Who’s mod crown, and therefore the obvious choice of support was joined by Miles Kane to play guitar and sing on The Jam’s 1981 single ‘That’s Entertainment’, one of three Jam songs during Weller’s hour-long show along with the fast paced ‘Start!’ and closing song ‘A Town Called Malice’. which brought big cheers. Opening with his 1995 single ‘The Changingman’, Weller played five songs from current album ‘Saturns Pattern’ including new single ‘Going My Way’. He barely spoke between songs, announcing: “We’ve only got an hour, so we need to pack them all in.” But by peppering his set with cuts from new album, Weller proves his aversion to looking back - he bloody-mindedly refuses to cash in and reform his former band and is doing his late-career creative purple patch no harm whatsoever and I sort of admire him from that. But it was great to hear some Jam songs again unlike the last time I saw him at the RAH.
Kaiser Chiefs played the main stage before Weller, with singer Ricky Wilson announcing before recent one-off single ‘Falling Awake’: “We are contractually obliged to play you a new song to make some money for the management. But we think it’s quite good, so win-win.” Introducing 2004’s ‘Na Na Na Naa’, Wilson told the crowd: “We appreciate that not all of you know our songs. You’re here for one band and one band only, The Who. We’re going to make it easy. This chorus is just ‘Na na na naa.’” The band often cover The Who’s ‘Pinball Wizard’ in concert, but not for a minute did I think they would include that in their set on this occasion. Not sure that would have gone down particularly well.. However, like all great bands, any new songs are supplemented by the classics that long-term fans really appreciate. They were all present here, ‘I Predict A Riot’, ‘Everyday I Love You Less And Less’, ‘Ruby’, and ‘Never Miss A Beat’. They're the kind of band that can have a song sound so-so in your earphones but absolutely epic live and here saw them at their very best. The Kaiser Chiefs have been staples of the UK indie rock scene since debut album Employment went to number two in the charts in 2005. A decade later and lead singer Ricky Wilson showed that he is still just as fresh, energetic and invested as he was during the bands formative years.
But these festivals aren't all about the Main Stage are they? As far as the WRC are concerned it’s about finding other hidden gems and meeting great people. And Hyde Park didn't disappoint on that score... We spent the first part of the afternoon at the Summer stage after a hearty Maccies in the Strand and a stroll past Buckingham Palace on the way to Hyde Park.. No sign of her Majesty by the way.. We came across a three piece band from Tunbridge Wells called the Standard Lamps playing good old rock and roll and they put together a nice little set including a Nina Simone cover. They handed out a free CD of one of their tracks ‘A Model World’ and I particularly liked another track called ‘Living with Mum and Dad’. These lads toured with the Who last year and will be supporting the Bluetones on their 20th anniversary tour in September. Well worth checking out their music in my view and that is not my Kentish bias coming through.
We then made our way to the Barclaycard Main stage for as it turned out our biggest surprise of the day. Many thanks to WRC member Steve Borkowski for this. He advised us to check out an American rock and blues band from California called Vintage Trouble. These four guys had been supporting AC/DC around Europe on their summer Rock or Bust world tour recently so my expectations were quite high. To say they were surpassed would be a massive understatement. A quite brilliant 30 minute live performance full of class, style, energy, mischief and outrage rolled into one. And one of the best (if not the best!) displays of crowd surfing from lead singer Ty Taylor I have ever seen (as he flew past me!!). But above all - great music. I felt knackered and exhilarated all in one and I have become a TroubleMaker now for life..
Particular favourites for me are ‘Blues Hand Me Down’ and ‘Run River Run’, the achingly world-weary ‘Nobody Told Me’, and the Chuck Berry riffed, call-and-response belter ‘Nancy Lee’. Ty Taylor has been described as a modern-day James Brown. In fact, imagine James Brown singing lead for Led Zeppelin, and you'll get an idea of Vintage Trouble's sound believe me. If you haven't seen them live then I urge you to seek out one of the best musical experiences you will ever have. They were off to Glastonbury as well where the masses would love them and the national exposure will do them no harm at all.. And then back to supporting A/C/DC in Europe and North America. It's a tough life isn’t it? I have already pre-ordered the new third album ‘1 Hopeful Road’ due out in mid-August. There is a trailer out on You Tube..You know what to do.....
Needless to say we met some great people during the afternoon and evening as usual to share our musical experiences and spread the Wrinkly word with... Honourable mentions and shout-outs go to Rob McCann and his son Kevin who we met just after Vintage Trouble. Top blokes !!. Next up its Vicky Lewis from Ipswich and her friend Julia who being the good WRC guys we are we "bodyguarded" during the Who set. It's the paternal instinct in us you know. Hope you didn't mind girls!!!. And last but not least, the delightful Adrian and Jo from NZ we got chatting to at the end.. Safe trip home guys after your stay in the UK – we hope to visit your vineyard one day! Wrinkly Rock music really does transcend the world doesn't it ???..
The Who Setlist
I Can’t Explain
Who Are You
The Kids Are Alright
Pictures Of Lily
I Can See For Miles
Behind Blue Eyes
You Better You Bet
Love Reign O’er Me
See Me Feel Me/Listening To You
Won’t Get Fooled Again
Paul Weller Setlist
From the Floorboards Up
I'm Where I Should Be
That's Entertainment (Jam song) (with Miles Kane)
Going My Way
You Do Something To Me
Start! (Jam song)
Town Called Malice (Jam song)
Kaiser Chiefs Setlist
Everyday I Love You Less and Less
Ruffians on Parade
Everything Is Average Nowadays
Never Miss a Beat
Na Na Na Na Naa
The Angry Mob
I Predict a Riot
Oh My God
Wrinkly the Silver