Super Bowl XLIV Halftime Show: The Who’s Set List

Originally posted 2010-02-07 18:40:35. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

This is a Weekend Review SPECIAL REPORT!

By Chris Moore:

SET LIST BELOW!!

I can’t believe it’s already been a year since the Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band Halftime Show, an event that inspired such a high degree of anticipation that people were literally placing bets on which songs would be played. There was a certain degree of mystery around what Springsteen would choose to play, and he gave very few clues as to what the set list would look like. Except, of course, that it would be an action-packed twelve minutes.

Well, we are rapidly approaching the Who’s twelve minutes of fame and they are much less concerned with such anticipation.

As Pete Townshend said earlier this week, “We’re doing kind of a compact medley, like a mash-up of stuff,” he says. “A bit of ‘Baba O’Riley,’ a bit of ‘Pinball Wizard,’ a bit of the close of ‘Tommy,’ a bit of ‘Who Are You’ and a bit of ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again.’ It works — it’s quite a saga. A lot of the stuff that we do has that kind of celebratory vibe about it — we’ve always tried to make music that allows the audience to go a bit wild if they want to. Hopefully it will hit the spot.”

And so, with no new album — either recent or upcoming — to promote, a medley it is!

The Who, performing an acoustic set the week before Super Bowl XLIV.

The Who go acoustic three days before Super Bowl XLIV.

There are certainly going to be those who poo-poo at The Who taking the stage before what is annually the largest crowd assembled for one television program. And yet, their age and the percentage of surviving members (50%) notwithstanding, we’re talking about the Who.

In the hierarchy of rock’n’roll, there aren’t too many who get billing above this band. The Beatles, to be certain. The Rolling Stones. Dylan.

Quite impressive company.

As Ray Waddell of the Macon Daly wrote in what is certainly the most interesting of the pre-Super Bowl articles, “The power and continued relevance of Townshend’s writing are obvious, but few could argue that Daltrey’s supercharged vocals don’t play a key role in the longevity of the songs.

The Who Super Bowl T-Shirt!

The Who Super Bowl T-Shirt!

Even for an avid music fan like myself, the Who have passed beneath my radar save for their greatest hits (I have two of those, actually) and Tommy. The more I’ve been reading about them and listening to them this week, the more I’ve realized what a shame that is. The Who have repeatedly received that label that Dylan oh-so-despises — voice of a generation. They pioneered, albeit not initially on purpose, the so-called “instrument destruction” aspect of some emotional rock concerts. This band was among the first rock bands to incorporate synthesized sounds into their records, which were increasingly more conceptual throughout their career.

The list goes on.

And although by most standards they dropped off the map in the early to mid-eighties, here are Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey to take the stage in front of the largest single audience a band could hope for. Very fitting indeed, as this is, of course, the band that set the record for the largest indoor concert in 1975…

There’s not as much for me to predict, bet, or suggest as there was last year, but I can tell you that, while I am interested in tonight’s excellent match-up between the Colts and the Saints, I am very excited for the Who. Say what you will about their last album Endless Wire — and the critics panned it — but that album had its moments of strength. I can’t imagine that tonight will be anything less than one of those strong high points of their recent career.

I’m off to the Super Bowl party with my girlfriend, so that’s it for now. Stay tuned for the set list, or medley order, or whatever it ends up being… I’ll be updating it here, at LaptopSessions.com, minute by minute.

THE WHO’s HALFTIME SET LIST

1 ) “Pinball Wizard”

2 ) “Baba O’Riley”

3 ) “Who Are You”

4 ) “See Me, Feel Me”

5 ) “Won’t Get Fooled Again”

REVIEW:

While the Who didn’t quite match the immediacy and the downright sweaty performance by Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band last year, their set evoked a calm and a confidence that, although predictable, was nice to see. After all, this was a mere twelve minutes of playing hits that they’ve been touring with for decades.

In other words, there was nothing unpredictable about the Halftime Show.
I would have settled for just one guitar being smashed.

Or at least a microphone…

The staging was perhaps the most impressive aspect of the set, as the Who opted out of the by-now-typical mass of fans that crowd the field for the mini concert. Instead, their stage was expansive and incorporated a variety of light patterns – spelling out “The Who,” lyrics to songs, and more. With Townshend’s well-known hearing issues, I was surprised, but happy, to see the fireworks display.

And did you see those classic blue, white, and red cymbols on the transparent drum set?

Overall, this was a very entertaining show. Again, it was nothing phenomenal and there will undoubtedly be those who will disparage these sixty-something rockers, but there was never a dull moment. Most songs were — the theme of the night– predictable (Townshend told us, after all, and, come on, how could they avoid playing “Who Are You” on CBS??) but I didn’t see “See Me, Feel Me” coming.

The onside kick that followed the concert overshadowed the set, but it was fun to see the Who and I, for one, hope the Super Bowl continues to call on these classic acts!

Bruce Hornsby: LIVE IN CONCERT – MGM Grand, Mashantucket, CT (March 27, 2009) – REVIEW

Originally posted 2009-03-28 23:43:50. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Chris Moore:

Right off the bat, I have to address how proud I am of myself that I was able to suppress the strong urge to title this concert review “That’s Just the Way It Was.”  As tempting as it was, I’m sure it’s already been used somewhere by someone…

At 8:02 on Friday night at the MGM Grand, only two minutes after the official start time of the concert, Bruce Hornsby appeared unceremoniously by walking out of the shadows, approaching his piano from stage right.  No announcements, no opening band.  (For a moment, I thought this might be a technician coming out for one last equipment inspection – and, if you’ve ever seen America perform, you know how many times it’s possible for a techie to inspect and tune  the guitars!)

As he neared the piano, he surveyed the assortment of papers strewn about the top of his piano.  Notes to himself?  A set list?  Lyrics for the less familiar tunes?

Negative, on all accounts.

Apparently, Hornsby does not work from a setlist.  Instead, he takes in requests from the audience before shows in the form 0f handwritten song titles slipped onto the stage.  His offical website reports, “Yes, it’s true. Bruce does not have a set list for his concerts. He comes up with the set list through requests from the audience. So, if you attend a concert, be sure to carry paper to write your requests on and place them on the stage.”  This is a novel approach, to be certain.  I wanted to participate in the process, but I have only been a “greatest hits” fan.  Aside from that, I would have had to design a paper airplane that was a marvel of physics in order to have my request reach the stage from my seat in the “Parterre” section of the MGM Grand theater, which is French for orchestra seats (and, apparently, English for “far away from the stage, but still technically on the ground level”).

After a brief, positive commentary from Hornsby about the array of requests, he started into the first song.  From the moment his hands touched the keys, it was apparent that he is truly a masterful musician, one of the few that is able to blend intricate classical arrangements into catchy pop/rock, country, and bluesgrass songs.

His first couple selections were played alone, but he was soon joined onstage by the Noise Makers (J.T. Thomas on keyboards, Bobby Read on saxophones (etc.), J.V. Collier on bass, Doug Derryberry on lead guitar, and Sonny Emory on drums).  Soon after, they launched into the first song with which I was familiar.  “Every Little Kiss” was all piano riffs and rock’n roll catchiness.  Well, maybe more adult contemporary than rock, but…

This was the first of several “greatest radio hits” tracks that Hornsby and the Noise Makers performed, much to the delight of my father and I.  Overall, the set list was a diverse collection of the hits, the deep tracks, and covers.  Some were note-for-note replicas of studio versions, such as “The Good Life,” while others were stripped apart and turned inside out, like “The Way It Is.”  There was a definite, if controlled sense of a jam band mentality.  During the final jam of the main set, Hornsby slipped from one song to the next, folding in a couple of high-energy verses from Bob Dylan’s “It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry.”  I had begun to tire of the jamming by the end of the show, and this fine touch really brought it all back home for me. (Please send your criticisms of that shameless pun to Chris, care of a comment below…)

At one point, Hornsby left the piano to strap on his accordion and take center stage for two songs.  As he approached the microphone with the new instrument, he commented that he had recently been with Levon Helm.  He introduced the following song by saying that this would please those in the crowd who enjoyed nostalgia, as this was a track from the band — namely, “Evangelne.”  The version did not disappoint and proved further that Hornsby is nothing if not an excellent multi-instrumentalist.

Hornsby was a personable, likable figure onstage.  In between songs, he kept a running commentary going, reflecting on the state of the economy and thanking everyone for coming out to see him perform all the same.  Early on, he revealed that Foxwoods management had told him to play for only 65 minutes.  Just over an hour for some who had paid $50 plus a “convenience” charge — that’s outrageous!  In his very laid-back manner, he said about as much and said they would stretch it to 90 minutes or so.  It sounded as if they told him that 65 minutes was the suggestion and 90 minutes was the outside limit.  He was true to his word, as the main set took the show’s running time to just over an hour and a half plus an encore.

Later on in the show, he expressed how happy he was that he remembered all the words to a track from his first album, a song that he played by request.

On the whole, this was a truly enjoyable concert.  I have an increased respect for Hornsby’s abilities as a pianist and performer, the Noise Makers were a flexible and vastly talented group, and the MGM Grand is a comfortable environment with excellent acoustics.  For my taste, there was too much of a jam band mentality on many of the selections — even Hornsby commented at one point that, due to the time limitations, the songs would be shorter than usual.  Maybe that’s not a bad thing, he said.  He continued, “There’s a fine line between self-expression and self-indulgence,” glancing with a grin to his bandmates.  I couldn’t agree more.

This concert was a bonding experience of sorts for me, as my father is a longtime fan of Hornsby and an even longer-time fan of the song “The Way It Is.”  While we both enjoyed the show, the low point of the show was indisputably their performance of the aforementioned hit single.  Aside from the initial keyboard blast of the familiar riff, the song was given a new, more jumpy tempo and the tune was stripped apart into an understated sequence of lines.  There was none of the charm of the studio version, and all biases being admitted, this version was nothing to brag about on its own.  For those five minutes, I appreciated what it must be like to attend a Dylan concert expecting to hear faithful versions of his hits, only to be met with deep tracks and rearranged versions.  Still, I maintain that the Dylan live experience offers up new and interesting, entertaining takes on his songs, whereas this was disappointing from all angles.

Regardless, the show as a whole was well worth the $35, and is an experience that I will remember fondly for years to come.  Part of that comes out of a bias, but this time a positive one!