From 1976 Swansea to 2023 Hove
Some experiences leave an indelible mark on our hearts, especially when it comes to music concerts. For music enthusiast Clare Cheetham, her love for The Who led her on a remarkable journey through time, attending their concerts in both 1976 and 2023. This blog post delves into Clare's vivid recollections of the legendary band's performances at Vetch Field in Swansea in 1976 and Hove Cricket Ground in 2023, as well as the magical memories that made both events special in their unique ways.
The Unforgettable Show in 1976
As a teenager in 1976, Clare had the opportunity to witness The Who's electrifying performance at Vetch Field in Swansea, right next to the prison. The band's energy and the vibrant atmosphere in the grounds left a lasting impression on her. The addition of a mesmerizing laser lightshow only added to the spectacle, making it one of the best gigs she had ever experienced. Looking back, Clare fondly reminisced about how she could have never imagined that, one day, The Who would share the stage with a full orchestra and that she’d be there to watch..
The Triumphant Return to Hove in 2023
In July 2023, The Who returned to Hove Cricket Ground, a place that held special significance for The Who, being the setting for the iconic movie Quadrophenia. For Clare, the nostalgia of being back in this familiar place added to the excitement of seeing the band perform once again. Despite the years that had passed, The Who's show was still electrifying in many ways.
Roger Daltrey's powerful vocals and Pete Townsend's signature windmill arm movements were as captivating as ever. The inclusion of a full orchestra and the talented drummer Zak Starkey (son of Ringo Starr) elevated the performance to new heights. ‘You Better, You Bet’ and ‘Won’t get fooled again’ had the audience belting out the lyrics!
A Contrast of Eras
While Clare acknowledged that the show in Hove might not have matched her youthful memories of the Swansea gig, she couldn't deny the magic that The Who brought to the stage. The warm-up acts, Isabella Coulstock and the legendary UB40 featuring Ali Campbell, set the perfect mood for the evening, getting the crowd on their feet and dancing along to the tunes.
Although The Who began with songs from Tommy, Clare was eager to hear their biggest hits. But her wish was granted as the band soon delved into their classic repertoire, treating the audience to timeless favorites like "My Generation." It was heartwarming to see people of all ages joining in the chorus, bridging generations through the power of music. Music from Quadrophenia followed, with a film showing some of the most memorable things – good, bad and downright evil - that have happened in the last sixty years, whilst the band have been performing. Baba O’Riley was the final track, and with that, the band were back to electrifying. Roger Daltrey gave it his all and violinist Katie Jacoby also stood out, providing a brilliant climax to the song.
For Clare Cheetham, The Who's concerts in 1976 and 2023 were more than just shows; they were cherished memories that transcended time. The band's enduring energy, remarkable talent, and the electrifying performances had left an everlasting impact on her heart. The journey from Swansea to Hove allowed Clare to revisit her youth while embracing the present, proving that music has the power to unite generations and create timeless moments that live on forever. As long as music continues to weave its magic, the spirit of The Who will live on in the hearts of music fans around the world.