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Liberty Stadium, Swansea 1 June 2007

A band well remembered in Swansea for a successful visit to the old Vetch football ground in 1976 it was wholly appropriate that The Who would be the first major act to grace the City's new Liberty Stadium some 31 years later.

Of course, it's just Pete Townshend and Roger Daltry left of the original incendiary foursome but the power and intensity remain as the band thunder into an opening trio of songs from the early years with the opening riffing of "I Can't Explain" followed quickly by "The Seeker" and "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere" cutting through the twilight sky at exactly 8.30pm. After a promising but largely missed set by local newcomers Killing For Company and a fairly static, lack-lustre performance by The Charlatans the people of Swansea were ready to rock and even some unfortunate power outages that caused Pete to comment that "maybe we're still too loud" failed to halt proceedings for long.

With a superb sound they progressed through "Fragments", a fine showcase of the new album, a powerful rendition of "Who Are You" and the touching "Behind Blue Eyes" whilst still finding time in the set for welcome surprises too. The excellent ode-to-Elvis "Real Good Looking Boy" deservedly retains it place in the set alongside the lesser known "Relay" and the surprise inclusion of "Eminence Front" from the 'It's Hard' album also proves that they don't just rest on their laurels and roll-out the greatest hits.

Playing on a huge stage with a back screen that separated at times and enhanced each and every song with images and effects from massive lava lamps, 'Matrix' style graphics, scenes from the mod riots and song-appropriate logo's. It also exuded a roar as pictures of Keith Moon and John Entwistle are displayed whilst either side of the stage two side screens capture the proceedings for those toward the back of the stadium. Centre stage an assured looking Roger Daltry and a highly animated Pete Townshend, a man who still exudes danger despite his years, fronted a tight line up completed by Beatle-son Zak Starkey on drums, the heartily tho' playfully booed Cardiff born Pino Palladino on bass and John 'Rabbit' Bundrick on keys.

Mid set and "Baba O Riley" sees the appreciative audience lit for the first time before the quieter track "A Man In A Purple Dress" is respectfully received as well. Gradually, the intensity is increased as legendary numbers " The Real Me" and "You Better You Bet" are rolled out before the stadium erupts to a stunning rendition of "My Generation" with each crack from Zak Starkey's drum kit sounding like a mighty explosion. By now the highly animated crowd are ready for the classic "Won't Get Fooled Again". A song we're so often teased with as a 30 second TV theme these days regains its legendary status with a full work-out. Townshend drenched in sweat windmills his way through and there is palpable expectation for 'that' scream. A stunning song that sees the whole stadium rise to their feet and cheer loudly as it closes the main set.

Just a couple of minutes before the band return with another trip back to the 60s in the shape of "The Kids Are Alright". The beginning of "Pinball Wizard" receives another huge roar and launches a massive singalong before the "Tommy" medley builds up to the iconic "See Me Feel Me". Unfortunately another power outage reduces some of the impact before "See Me.." begins and prompted Pete to sing, maybe ominously for the Swansea audience "don't expect to see 'em again" as the band built once again for the finale. Daltry's voice, the subject of some concern already on the tour, sounded great throughout the evening and he maintained his high standards through what many assumed incorrectly was to be the final track.

The whole band took a front-of-stage bow before the stage was left, somehow appropriately, to just Roger Daltry and Pete Townshend for "Tea And Theatre". A touching closing moment for a legendary pair of rock music's stalwarts. A suitable ending to an evening which despite a few gremlins was greatly received by the large crowd.

Review by Bill Leslie

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