SONIC WAVES…The Who/Live In Toronto

Basically by 1982 when I was really getting into music some of the bigger bands from the 60s/70s were calling it quits like The Who so when it was announced that there farewell tour in 1982 was gonna be there last tour?!(Hahahaha,yeah right!) The last date of the It’s Hard Tour was gonna be in Toronto and more of a bonus it was gonna be televised across Canada and better yet it was FREE!

So myself,John Young and Tbone gathered around Johns TV set and we tuned into to watch The Who slam it down one last time and for me it was my first time seeing The Who live.

After The Who packed it in back in late 82 there old record company released Who’s Last a live compilation album from a bunch of shows but I always was wanting the Toronto show and wondered why they never officially released it!

Fast forward to 2010 and Lo and behold I’m in our local HMV shop when under The Who’s section and there’s the double Live Who farewell performance from Toronto( the same show ) on cd for under $20! SCORE!( not a official release)

Our good friend and fellow blogger Rich Kamer at KamerTunesBlog saw this tour at Shea Stadium in New York (wowzers) lucky guy..hope you dig this review Rich.

Hop Aboard The Magic Bus…..

MY GENERATION- talking about My my my Geneeeeeeeration!!! The Who get the crowd going and it’s the song that started it off for these guys many a year earlier! Still the first time I every heard a dude with a nickname of the Ox on bass (John Entwistle) rip out a bass solo on a song and not a guitar solo in sight!

I CANT EXPLAIN- the first thing I realize when Pete Townsend plays the opening riff is how crabby he looks and during the solo he kinda stares at the crowd and feeds them some windmills and people lap it up! ( when I watched the show on tv for the first time)but after getting into the Who big time  after they broke up I realize thats just how the guy rolls! Great song here and man real cool sloppy rythm guitar solo at the end of the song! Watch the video If Ya don’t believe me!

DANGEROUS- this is a song that Entwistle wrote and its a great song from Its Hard and it shows the Who using keyboards properly In a rock song and Roger Daltry man what a great rock voice, plus the fact that he’s the first guy ever to swing a mic and not kill anyone (that I know of) is impressive! Great chorus!

SISTER DISCO- from the album Who Are You is up next and you can hear even though the keys are cranked the Who are bidding the 70s bye and hello 80s and this song has a damn catchy chorus! Call Townsend grumpy but the dude could write memorable hooks!

THE QUIET ONE- not does Entwistle only write this rocker tune he sings it as well! Kenny Jones smashes his drums and watch the vid posted as this is one of my fav tunes from this disc! Actually at the 2 minute 10 second mark of the video,Pete and John look at each other with a bit of a smirk and Townsend actual gives a bit of a smile.Look at Pete flinging those snappy little licks on his guitar at the end of the tune plus he tosses in some acrobatic jumping around and ends it with a patented windmill! Rock 101 done to a T here at Arena Rock!

ITS HARD-the title track from the supposed last studio album and the one there plugging on the Farewell tour! It’s a good song and give these geezers some credit cuz at the the time they could have just done a greatest  hits tour and called it a day but Grumpy Pete said No way Jose …..we will play some new songs and than count the $$$!

EMINENCE FRONT- ha Pete heard Me and follows up one newbie track for another and he handles the lead vocal on this track that features a ton of keys from there keyboard guy Tim Gorman! Another good song from Its Hard!

BABA O RILEY- Teenage Wasteland,we’re all Wasted! Great song and well composed and performed love the synth line that runs thru this tune and of course Daltry nails down a real good live vocal and for a added bonus Roger doesn’t only rock the songs vocally but he can also add harmonica playing and twirling his mic cable that he can addto his resume!

BORIS THE SPIDER- Entwistle stomps on and Townsend kills the spider tossed to the stage! Creepy,crawley..kinda tune almost like someone sneaking up on Ya! And Bam its Boris …..another Entwistle composition with Daltry co singing the tune with him!

DROWNED- is a 8 minute classic from Quadrophenia in which Pete takes over the lead vocally as well on this one and why not other than Entwistle Pete wrote all the tunes! But he knew and we all knew he needed a guy like Roger Daltry to deliver the rest of the tunes vocally and yeah man Daltry does that !

LOVE AINT FOR KEEPING-is a short 2.5 minute song and for the Who that is short! Kinda a mid tempo-ish tune but it works!

PINBALL WIZARD- the who keeping it going and do I really need to explain this tune? Nope I don’t but I will say the Who plow thru this tune like gangbusters!

SEE ME,FEEL ME- this is a great live version love the rawness and Townsend ripping around on his guitar and I mean what a great classic rock track! Listen to yooooou!

WHO ARE YOU- zippy,bang,zip,crash, pop ,bang …that’s the synth action starting at the beginning of Who Are You! This song I never get tired of! Love the beat it to it! The Synth,drums. Power chords it’s all here and I love the way Daltry sings the line ‘ I spit out like a sewer hole’…More bands should use the term SEWER HOLE more….like why not…oh yeah I almost forgot to say…WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU!!

5:15-this is the Who crushing at Rock speed! Great use of everything in this well written track. Love when the song just chills and Rog sez..Inside outside leave me alone and than the song just amps back up!

LOVE REIGN OVER ME-I guess you could say this was the big Who power ballad…complete with Synthy overtones and Pete synching his guitar with Daltrys boice during the chorus!  Big time tune!

LONG LIVE ROCK-hey you go to a rock concert and Yep you need to hear a song with rock in it as a title right! Correct and it should be this tune real cool verses on this mutha of a track!

WONT GET FOOLED AGAIN- synth and man and this is the grandaddy of all Who tracks! I mean it’s all here wrapped in this tune! Crazy drumming from Kenny Jones,windmilling guitar heroics from Pete,more mic spinning from Rog and the Ox holds down the fort with his bass riffing!

NAKED EYE- props to the Who at going back and playing to me anyways tunes I have never really heard for that matter and this is one of em!

SQUEEZE BOX- haha The Who meets Poison! Hahahaha….ok ok ok I think Poison and Brets Bandana did a cover of this tune and basically what I’m implying here is that its a pop ditty this Squeeze Box tune and I guess when push comes to shove and back in the day when the record company fat guy was after Pete to write a catchy little radio number! Squeeze Boxs number was called…I like this damn tune……

YOUNG MANS BLUES- the Who crank it up on this cover and they demolish it with feedback from Pete and its the Who showing there roots!

TWIST AND SHOUT- the Who doing justice to the cover that the Beatles did as a cover. Entwistle sings with his rasp and its a good closer tune to the end of the concert!

IN CONCLUSION-considering this live TV broadcast was my intro to the Who it’s crazy that 33 years later I still consider this live album a fav! Sure I may be in the minority here but that’s ok! I still Remember even after all these years discussing the possibility of Pete Townsend destroying all of his gear one last time at the Toronto show! Sadly(hahaha) it never happened! I guess that’s Pete’s way of saying Not playing by anyone’s rules but my  own! Of course the Who came back in 1985 and 1989 and now they are still touring into there 50th year,so I guess you could say we were all fooled again! And again! And again!

Still a great live album…..

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18 thoughts on “SONIC WAVES…The Who/Live In Toronto”

  1. I love your passion for this performance. I was at one of the Shea Stadium shows on this tour and it was a major event in my young life (I was only 16). In hindsight they were pretty good but at the time I thought it was a monumental show. Like you, I was glad they played some new songs and didn’t make it just a greatest hits show. I might have been the only person there who wanted to hear “Don’t Let Go The Coat” from Face Dances, but I didn’t leave Shea disappointed about the set list, that’s for sure.

    Another excellent…and enthusiastic…review. Well done.

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  2. I remember having the Who’s Last live album and the gatefold sleeve picture I think was a live shot from Shea Stadium! The Clash was the opener I think right Rich? Combat Rock is the only Clash album I ever owned. Great stuff. The songs the Who did play on this tour from Its Hard are all great tracks,I guess they must have dumped Athena by the time the tour rolled into Toronto. Good set list. Kenny Jones I have no idea why everyone ragged on him! For sure he does not play like Moon so he’s damned for that but if he did play like Moon people would have rated on him for that ..dude was screwed either way! Good also they also included him on the Face Dances and Its Hard album covers and not as some hired guy like that clown Jovi does nowadays!
    Good hearing from you Rich….

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    1. Yep, this was the tour where The Clash opened for them (and David Johansen played before both bands). Kenney Jones is a very underrated drummer…his work with The Small Faces and Faces is surprisingly nuanced…but he wasn’t a good fit for The Who. I thought Simon Phillips was a better match when he played with them at the end of the ’80s even though they were more like Who-mania than The Who, with all the extra musicians on stage. I didn’t initially appreciate Zak Starkey’s contributions when I saw their Quadrophenia show at Madison Square Garden (around ’96/’97, I believe), but when I saw them a couple of years later he blew me away. The early-’00s Who, before Entwhistle died, was as close to the original Who as I’ve ever experienced.

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  3. Wow Deke! Cool. This is a great story. I didn’t know about this being broadcast on TV, but in 1982 if it wasn’t Star Wars then I wasn’t interested!

    That version of the Quiet One is ragged but cool! Interesting to hear Kenny Jones on drums. He’s busy but he’s intricate.

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      1. Well I bought the TO show on double cd from HMV and a few years ago they had a live unreleased live show on dvd from San Diego from the same tour..so I scooped it…just surprised that HMV of all places had it…

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  4. Now this is the way to handle the traffic and crowds in Toronto, Deke! Just don’t go! Hahahaa

    I like that they televised this, if it had actually been the last show this would have been an even more significant document.

    Now, the question: all the subsequent tours, were they Farewell tours too? Is this where KISS got the idea? 😉

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  5. This was the first full concert I’d ever seen by anyone not named Elvis (thanks Mom). This definitely had a lasting effect on Deke’s and my psyche. For example; I still look under my bed for Boris The Spider before going to sleep at night.

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