The Who Hyde Park

Nostalgia has been defined as “a sentimental longing for the past” and is usually associated with feelings of melancholia and loss. Music plays a big part in aiding human beings in re-creating a sense of the past that is long gone. Does this hold us back? In the sense that we are unable to move forward OR does looking back at the past give us impetus & inspiration for the future? It depends on intent and purpose of the individual but I’d like to believe that it is the latter case.

Here’s the perfect example — The Who (now reduced to Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey, both now in their 70s!) — with a triumphant gig at London’s Hyde Park, where an audience of 65,000 celebrated the return of one of the greatest ever rock bands back to London Town. One might question the relevance of The Who to modern rock music but looking at the footage, nobody in the audience gave a fuck! It was all about the music and not some pre-conceived notion of what this all meant conceptually.

This CD/DVD set captures the excitement of that special day in June this year, where the significance of The Who’s impact on rock music was recognised and savoured. Sure, the performances had issues — this is not The Who in their peak, especially without the late John Entwistle and Keith Moon (covered admirably by Pino Palladino and Zak Starkey respectively) — but it was good enough for its purpose.

The set list is somewhat predictable in some aspects (closing with “Baba O’Riley” and “Won’t Be Fooled Again”) but there were surprises along the way (notably “Pictures of Lily” — requested by Paul Weller, no less!) and the band were particularly feisty on “My Generation” and majestic on “The Kids Are Alright”. Watching the DVD, it was impossible personally not to get emotional over seeing the pair struggling through some of the material (Roger missing a key cue at the coda of “Won’t Get Fooled Again” and Pete coming across as less mobile, for example) — they ARE in their fuckin’ 70s, after all! But it was clear that the audience lapped it all up. Seems facetious to say this BUT, believe me nobody will shed a tear for 5 Seconds of Summer when they inevitably get past puberty! The Who is/was the real deal and as long as they can still physically manage these shows, then I hope to see them in Singapore one day. Hopefully soon.

In the meantime, slide in the DVD and enjoy…

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