Earlier this year, when the tickets originally went on sale for the Who, kicking off their 50th anniversary tour at The Hydro, I scoffed at the price and made my peace with the fact I’d probably never get to see them live. Fast forward to three weeks before the gig and, by virtue of a workmate who had tickets but now couldn’t make it, I jumped at the chance and paid him the substantial face value to secure the pair of them for me and my mate Adrian.
Although I’m not old enough to have listened to the Who in their prime, I’ve been a fan ever since Adrian introduced me to their music over 15 years ago. Now I’ll frequently throw on their Then and Now compilation album and enjoy the prime cuts from their substantial back catalogue. I’ve also bought several Who tracks to play on Rock Band and it has to be said, thrashing out Pinball Wizard on a plastic guitar feels epic!
I had a bit of a busy November, so it seemed like the night was upon us really quickly. As is customary for any gig we go to in Glasgow, we met at the state bar for a couple of beers before taking a taxi to The Hydro. I hadn’t been to The Hydro before, but knowing that it was purpose built as a music venue I expected the acoustics to be of a high standard and by the time we took our seats I was really excited to finally experience such a revered band.
If I’d known the chronology of their single releases then I wouldn’t have been as impressed by Adrian’s prediction that they’d open with I Can’t Explain. When they took to the stage they launched straight into that and were firing on all cylinders straight away – following it with several more songs before pausing to change guitars and enjoy a bit of banter with the crowd.
The gig moved at a relentless pace as they ploughed through their 25 song set list, with the entire crowd in The Hydro singing along to most of them. My favourite bit would come at the mid-way point when they paid tribute to Keith Moon and John Entwistle by playing along with footage of their late band mates shown on the massive, vivid screen that formed the backdrop to the stage. It really was incredible to see that – emotional, too.
All too soon the night was winding up, with Magic Bus, Baba O’Riley and Won’t Get Fooled Again coming in quick succession before a quick encore that everybody around us was convinced would be My Generation, but ended up being Naked Eye, which wasn’t a familiar one to me. Once they were done the applause was warm and generous from The Hydro crowd and rightly so – we’d all just experienced an amazing set list from a band that can still rock 50 years down the line.
Once Adrian and I were out into the concourse I had to run for it over the bridge to the station, as I was cutting it a bit fine for the last train home. As soon as I was onboard I had my earphones in and Then and Now playing all the way back just to try and sustain what had been an amazing experience.
Those pricey tickets?
Worth every penny!