Live photos by : Neal Middleton
Live Gig Review: Karen Hetherington.
Opening in Belfast last night for The Who on their “The Who Hits 50” tour, The Last Internationale were a band I was eagerly anticipating the return of… Singer Delilia Paz’ voice is unparalleled to any other female vocalist of modern times and adapts itself perfectly to any music genre. Edgey Pires is an amazing guitarist and the duo performs with passion and energy. They played a beautiful rendition of Neil Youngs’ Hey Hey, My My – with Delila on Harmonica, guitar and vocals accompanied by original tracks from their fantastic debut album We Will Reign.
I would be unashamedly guilty of not giving new bands much listening time as I feel they lack longevity but my first encounter with The Last Internationale (last November when they were supporting Robert Plant at the Ulster Hall) was a full assault on the eardrums in the best possible sense of the term and their fantastic sound was impossible for me to ignore.
My only gripe with their performance last night was its shortness in duration. They are an incredible live act and I would love to see them return as a headline band at some point in the near future and play a full set. Having toured with Neil Young, Robert Plant and The Who they have certainly been in good company and I expect great things from them…
There was a very quick changeover before The Who emerged on stage to the raptures of a very welcoming audience. Pete Townshend apologised with comic irony for being late, when they were, in fact, 5 months early – they had to reschedule the gig due to difficulties with logistics.
Roger and Pete, who have had a volatile relationship over the years seemed to perfectly complement each other on stage last night. Their relationship must have grown mellower with time and they enjoyed a bit of on stage banter. Being the only two remaining original members of The Who, following the deaths of Keith Moon in 1978 and John Entwhistle in 2002 it is possible they consider themselves very lucky to have had careers which have spanned 50 yrs. Rock and Roll can come at a price.. and most of the signature bands who started out in the 60s have suffered casualties as a result of living the dream. As the saying goes “If you remember the sixties, you weren’t really there…”
Opening with “I Cant Explain” this was a greatest hits tour which done exactly what it said on the tin. Daltrey’s vocals were every bit as amazing as they’ve always been – he and his voice are in pretty good shape and he looks 20+ younger than his 71 years. Pete Townshend has an ease with the audience as comes naturally with a performer of his pedigree. There was no guitar smashing on the cards last night and no need for it either. This is band who have nothing to prove. Roger Daltrey’s signature microphone twirling and Pete’s exaggerated arm swinging guitar playing technique were observed throughout. Classics such as Who are you?, I Can See for Miles, My Generation, Behind Blue Eyes and Pinball Wizard as well as many others followed in all too quick succession and Won’t Get Fooled again brought the show to its conclusion.
Joining the rock royalty on stage were Pete’s brother, Simon Townshend and Ringo Starrs’ son Zak Starkey who was a phenomenal force on drums. No encores were awarded for the audiences’ enthusiasm but the band had just about covered everything anyway.
Some of Pete Townshend’s remarks on this tour have sparked controversy that this really IS the end for the band. After all 50 is a nice round number and marks a lifetime’s achievement. I firmly believe that The Who and other bands of their era will go on until they cease to exist. What else would they do? They say “old rockers never die they just cut their hair and no one recognises them anymore”. Well there’s no mistaking these guys, their sound is as distinctive as ever and they certainly brought the house down in Belfast. Will we be seeing any more of them? After that performance I live in hope, but WHO knows?….