Who took over FEQ’s Bell stage Thursday? The Who!

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Photo: Cassandra Kerwin

The Who’s lead singer Roger Daltrey, along with bandmate Pete Townshend gave an unforgettable concert on July 13 at the FEQ.

The Plains of Abraham were filled to overflowing as fans of all ages eagerly awaited the arrival of the iconic British rock band on the big Bell stage during the 50th Festival d’Été de Québec (FEQ) on Thursday, July 13. 

The Who immediately rocked the house with “I Can’t Explain,” “The Seeker” and fittingly – “Who Are You…?”

“It is wonderful to be in Quebec City with you guys,” said guitarist and original band member Pete Townshend. “What a beautiful and wonderful place this is. You are so lucky. I am sure that you are beautiful, too.” 

A few songs later, Townshend asked the crowd to translate Quadrophenia, the name of The Who’s sixth studio album, first released in 1973, into French. The word “quadrophenia” was made up by The Who to describe someone with a four-way split personality, a play on the word “schizophrenia.” They performed “5.15,” “I’m One,” “The Rock” and “Reign O’er Me” from the album.

This band from across the pond has over 50 years of classic hit songs. The moment that FEQ announced that The Who were coming to play on the Plains of Abraham, the crowd had high expectations. They were not let down, but guitarist and singer Pete Townshend, age 72, and singer Roger Daltrey, age 73, were the only two of the original four band members who are still performing with the group. Despite this, they put on an impressive show, with other musicians backing them up. 

Daltrey whirled the microphone around above his head between verses and songs.
Townshend made his guitar sing, when he wasn’t performing incredible solos or tuning his instruments.  
In between songs, the crowd chanted “Who! Who! Who!” They sang along to most of the 20 songs in their set, such as “The Kids Are Alright,” “I Can See For Miles,” “Behind Blue Eyes,” “Bargain” and “Eminence Front.” 

“I am here with my father, a great fan of The Who since their beginning,” said Caroline Morin. “This is my gift to him for his 75th birthday. He always wanted to see them, but never could. It is never too late. His favourites by The Who are ‘My Generation,’ ‘Join Together’ and ‘Pinball Wizard,’ all three of which were played tonight. And he is ecstatic. We are having so much fun.” 

“I am a huge fan of The Who, ever since I started watching the CSI series,” said Sean O’Connor. “I’m really happy they played the four songs.” 

Creators of the CSI television franchise used The Who’s “Who Are You” as the theme song of the original series, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. For each spin off, they used a different song by The Who: “Won’t Get Fooled Again” for CSI: Miami, “Baba O’Riley” for CSI: NY, and “I Can See For Miles” for CSI: Cyber.
Pete Townshend made his guitar sing as he and Roger Daltrey rocked the Plains of Abraham. Photo by Cassandra Kerwin