TVD Live Shots: The Who and Liam Gallagher at the Chase Center, 10/9

Since San Francisco’s Chase Center opened a little over a month ago, it has packed the house with some of the biggest acts in the world including The Who’s “Moving On!” Tour which, for the third time since the Chase Center’s opening (Metallica’s two S&M shows being the others), featured a full orchestra.

Liam Gallagher’s brief 25 minute opening set was mostly met with apathy on and off the stage as the San Francisco crowd gathered (though it should be acknowledged that 7:30 on a Wednesday evening is not an ideal set time for anyone). Clearly the crowd was there for the evening’s headliners and every seat in the house seemed to fill quickly as the crew prepared the stage while the 48-strong orchestra and conductor Keith Levenson started to set up and settle in for what would prove to be an epic evening.

The band took the stage a smidge past 8:30 and launched into the instrumental “Overture” from Tommy as frontman Roger Daltry bashed away on a pair of tambourines. The band continued on with the Tommy material, the orchestra providing a nice but not necessary dimension to the material without overshadowing what was a truly inspiring performance by Pete Townshend. The crowd totally lost their shit when Pete broke out the windmills during “Pinball Wizard” as Roger spun his mic around.

With all the pomp of the orchestra, it was somewhat ironic that the most memorable moment of the evening was when things were the most stripped-down—Roger and Pete with only a microphone and acoustic guitar, tearing through “Won’t Get Fooled Again” was simply stunning. They could have dropped the mic and walked off stage right then and there and a sizeable portion of the crowd could have likely walked away happy.

But that was not in the cards, the 2 hour and 15 minute set spanned their catalog and even teased some new material (“Ball and Chain” and “Hero Ground Zero”) due out in November on a new album. Roger and Pete were in fine moods (aside from Roger’s professed allergic reaction to someone smoking weed up front) and took turns talking to the crowd between songs, not holding back with jokes about the age of both the band and the audience.

Certainly worthy of mention was the rest of the band which featured keyboardist Loren Gold, bassist Jon Button, drummer Zak Starkey (son of Ringo Starr), and Pete’s younger brother Simon Townshend on guitar. While it’s impossible to fill the shoes of Entwistle and Moon, these musicians more than did the music justice.

We can all certainly hope that the name of the tour (“Moving On!”) has nothing to do with Daltrey’s and Townshend’s intentions to keep the band going, because anyone watching them perform and perform together on stage can see how the years together have created a seemingly effortless partnership. The prospect of a new album—their first since 2006—certainly suggests that The Who is not going anywhere anytime soon.

LIAM GALLAGHER

SETLIST
(With Orchestra)
Overture
1921
Amazing Journey
Sparks
Pinball Wizard
We’re Not Gonna Take It
Who Are You
Eminence Front
Imagine a Man
Hero Ground Zero

(Band Only)
Substitute
I Can See for Miles
You Better You Bet
Won’t Get Fooled Again
Behind Blue Eyes

(With Orchestra)
Ball and Chain
The Real Me
I’m One
5:15
The Rock
Love, Reign O’er Me
Baba O’Riley

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