Gig review: The Who, Glasgow

One moment of charged, nostalgic emotion among many at this show came when Pete Townshend unexpectedly dedicated Behind Blue Eyes to the late Iain Banks, a gesture that was met with a huge cheer – second only to that which went up earlier when archive footage of the band’s long-departed but legendary drummer Keith Moon appeared on the huge circular backing screen and proceeded to “duet” with Roger Daltrey.

The Who - SECC, Glasgow

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During a set which largely replayed their definitive concept album eulogy to lost youth Quadrophenia, it felt that such reminders of lost youth and snuffed-out creativity came with the territory.

Yet this was so much more than a nostalgic eulogy to the olden days from singer Daltrey and guitarist Pete Townshend, the group’s only surviving founders (late bassist John Entwistle was also seen on the screen, wordless). Although it was strange to witness Townshend acknowledge towards the end that “I wrote the songs, but I didn’t have much to do with the show” and offer thanks to the hitherto unknown musical director, this was a set immersed in the spirit of the band, at once filled with youthful fire and world weary despair, rebellion and lost uncertainty going singularly hand in hand.

The ins and outs of Quadrophenia’s 90-minute running time may have been lost on the less hardened fans in the room, but in The Real Me and 5:15 there were still iconic rockers alongside the expansive, emotive reflections of I Am the Sea and Love Reign O’er Me. Of course finally, and despite the scale of the production behind them and the nine-strong band, an encore featuring Who Are You?, Pinball Wizard and Won’t Get Fooled Again was the definition of crowd-pleasing.