The Who – Live At The Royal Albert Hall

Live At The Royal Albert Hall (2003)

B+

1. I Can’t Explain 2. Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere 3. Pinball Wizard 4. Relay 5. My Wife 6. The Kids Are Alright 7. Mary Anne With The Shaky Hand 8. Bargain 9. Magic Bus 10. Who Are You 11. Baba O’Riley 12. Drowned 13. Heart To Hang Onto 14. So Sad About Us 15. I’m One 16. Getting In Tune 17. Behind Blue Eyes 18. You Better You Bet 19. The Real Me 20. 5:15 21. Won’t Get Fooled Again 22. Substitute 23. Let’s See Action 24. My Generation 25. See Me Feel Me/Listening To You 26. I’m Free 27. I Don’t Even Know Myself 28. Summertime Blues 29. Young Man Blues

 

Greetings, my fellow Americans. I am Mitt Romney, the next president of your money. I’m not going to allow fact-checkers to dictate my campaign, so I’m just going to tell you a bunch of shit… um, I mean, snot (forgive me for swearing, oh mighty prophet Joseph Smith) and not worry about whether or not it’s actually true.

Live At The Royal Albert Hall is a double disc recording of the Who performing live at the Royal Albert Hall in London in November 2000. It also includes a third bonus disc consisting of four songs recorded at the Albert Hall in February 2002, which turned out to be the final Who performance featuring legendary bassist John Entwistle. It was his last concert because soon afterwards he died a hooker-and-drug-related death in a Las Vegas hotel room. It was an appalling incident, and frankly I find it shocking that ten years later, President Obama still has failed to address the Vegas hooker and drug problem that is plaguing our nation and crippling our job market. Now, I’m aware that President Obama was not our president in 2002 (it was some fellow whose name I can’t recall at the moment), but it’s time for this president to stop blaming his predecessor for all our nation’s ills. After nearly four years, every single drug-and-hooker-related death that occurs in this great country of ours is his personal responsibility.

In any case, these particular concerts were held to benefit the Teenage Cancer Trust. Of course, teenage cancer is caused by Nancy Pelosi and the congressional Democrats, who refuse to yield on perpetuating this horrific atrocity on the world’s teens, in the process putting our very future and way of life in jeopardy. This is why it is imperative that we provide our job creators with tax cuts so that we may continue to generate free market solutions to eradicating Democrats—and thus teenage cancer—from our nation’s capital.

These performances featured a lineup of Roger Daltrey on vocals and harmonica, Pete Townshend on guitar, John Entwistle on bass, Zak Starkey on drums, and John Bundrick on keyboards. The concerts also boasted an array of high profile guest stars: Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, the Jam’s Paul Weller, Oasis’ Noel Gallagher, the Stereophonics’ Kelly Jones, and Bryan Adams. I am told Jesus Christ himself was scheduled to perform a stirring rendition of “Squeeze Box” as well, but He was so disgusted with President Obama’s foreign “apology tour”—of course, He knew it would happen a decade before it did, since he’s our all-knowing and all-powerful Lord and Savior and all—that he didn’t even bother showing up. All I can say is, Jesus – I can’t blame you.

Say, Ann told me the most rousing joke the other day! I can’t quite remember how it ended, but I’m fairly certain it began with one fellow knocking on another fellow’s door. I had never heard anything so wildly entertaining in all my life. I was so amused that my throat muscles inadvertently began vibrating and produced some sort of strange aural emission. Boy, I love humor.

Hi everybody, this is Jeremy again. Mitt had to leave – he hadn’t fired any of his pool boys in a while so he had to go get his fix. I’m getting some live Who fatigue after reviewing three of these guys’ late-period live albums in a row, so I’m just gonna pull a Prindle and do some bullet points.

  • Zak Starkey is the drummer! Ringo’s son! Hahaha! He’s actually really, really good. Drums circles around his old man. About as good a substitute for Keith as they could’ve gotten. That’s high praise.
  • Roger and Eddie Vedder sound really nice singing “Getting In Tune” together.
  • Pete’s solo acoustic reimagining of “Drowned” is absolutely stunning.
  • Roger’s aging voice has taken on a husky, less than note perfect tone, but he still sounds way better than he did on Who’s Last.
  • They do a few neat rarities, mostly from the 70s. “Relay”! “Let’s See Action”! “Mary Anne With The Shaky Hand”! “I Don’t Even Know Myself”!
  • Pete’s ears apparently recovered to their youthful state in the ten years since Join Together, since he’s back to playing loud assed electric guitar without the aid of a second guitarist. Unfortunately, his Gibson and Marshall stack are gone, probably never to return, and he’s switched to a Strat. But that allows him to do some cool whammy bar soloing stuff and fluidly vary his guitar tones to better match the dynamics of the original studio versions (for instance, on “Bargain,” he does some clean, acoustic-sounding strumming before switching to distorted riffing when the drums kick in).
  • Bryan Adams does a terrific job singing “Behind Blue Eyes”; Paul Weller does an adequate job duetting with Pete on an acoustic “So Sad About Us”; Kelly Jones of the Stereophonics does the job of a smarmy asshole who can’t sing on “Substitute.”
  • They jam out a few of these songs a little too long. “Magic Bus” goes on for almost ten minutes, “Relay” goes on for over seven, and “5:15,” thanks to a lengthy and honestly pretty boring bass solo, goes on for eleven. Even “The Kids Are Alright” goes on for six minutes cause Pete adds a new part at the end. Somebody should’ve told these guys that just because they had regained their ability to rock almost as hard as they did in the 70s didn’t mean they had to be as long-winded as they were in the 70s.
  • At two hours and forty-two minutes, this is way too much music to digest in one sitting. But at least there’s lots of entertaining stage banter to keep you awake along the way!

Overall, it’s amazing how much the Who sound like their old selves for most of this thing. Nice work, guys! Glad you all got old before you died! Well, most of you did, anyway!

Don’t tell me it’s too soon. It’s been 34 years. Fuck off.



One Comment

  1. wchughes wrote:

    Pretty much agree with your assessment except I love John’s bass solo on 5:15.

    Gotta say it’s pretty weird that Bryan Adams has great guest spots with two of my favorite artists (here and singing “Young Lust” on “The Wall at Berlin”) but sucks so mightily otherwise. What’s his deal?


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