Portland 1982 (Maximum R-B W-102182)
Memorial Coliseum, Portland, OH, USA – October 21, 1982
Disc 1 (67:38) Intro, Substitute, I Can’t Explain, Dangerous, Sister Disco, The Quiet One, It’s Hard, Eminence Front, Behind Blue Eyes, Baba O’Riley, I Can See For Miles, Drowned, A Man Is A Man, Cry If You Want
Disc 2 (57:15) Audience, Who Are You, Pinball Wizard, See Me Feel Me, 5:15, Love Reign O’er Me, Long Live Rock, Won’t Get Fooled Again, Naked Eye, Summertime Blues, Twist And Shout
The second in a group of soundboards that appeared in 2013 features The Who near the end of the first leg of their 1982 American tour in support of It’s Hard and finds the band playing the 13,000 seat Memorial Coliseum in Portland. There has not been a prior bootleg in vinyl or disc of this show so this recording, like the other three boards, is most welcome. The sound quality is excellent, perfectly balanced with rich and full sound frequencies, and as with the others sounds great when turned up loud. There is a small layer of hiss, perhaps more prevalent on this recording than the New Jersey show but is barely worth mentioning.
The band would change their set lists a bit, on this night we get Substitute as show opener and is linked non stop with I Can’t Explain. Roger introduces Dangerous as being written by John Entwistle and refers to him as “Thunderfingers” and for The Quiet One is goes by his standard nickname “The Ox”. Eminence Front is more cohesive than the New Jersey show and with Tim Gorman turning a solid performance on the keys, the band’s effort elicits a loud response from the audience. I Can See For Miles sounds rather subdued and flaccid, this is addressed before Cry If You Want as Roger starts with him clearing his throat and tells the audience that the venue air conditioning is wreaking havoc on his voice and he prefers the damp English air, he also complains about the amount of lyrics for Cry as it sounds painful for him on this night.
Who Are You has a nice jam thing at the beginning that leads into all four musicians meeting up for the main riff. Kenny Jones tries hard to keep up but it does sound like he has trouble with the drum fills Keith would effortlessly produce. Vocal wise Peter and John’s backing vocals are sport and seem to take some of the pressure off Daltrey. Roger’s rough vocals are evident again on See Me, Feel Me giving it a morose feel, he seems to be recovered for a strong and rousing rendition of 5:15, the song also has a great Townsend lead solo and a cool funky middle section. Roger takes a minute to tell the audience he has a problem with his voice, Pete chimes in “sounds good to me” in typical fashion, as the soft notes of Love Reign O’er Me starts Roger has to dig deep to come close to hitting the high notes, what comes out while not as strong is a good effort. There is a fade cut at the 1:29 mark with about a minute missing from the song, the edit is smooth.
Won’t Get Fooled Again is much stronger, Roger doesn’t have the high’s to hit and Peter backs him, Daltrey does not do his famous scream, thankfully as it would have probably trashed his throat completely. The song gets a huge ovation and Roger introduces the side men, Kenny Jones and keyboard man Tim Gorman just prior to leaving the stage and Pete chimes in “yourselves” as they have been a great audience. They are duly rewarded with Naked Eye as the first song of the encore, the song is certainly a great addition to the set and my personal favorite song from this concert. The abbreviated (unfortunately) Summertime Blues has Kenny Jones doing some of the nights best drumming and the show finishes with a standard Twist and Shout. Not as strong a show as the New Jersey gig due to Roger’s rough vocals and the rest of the band not pushing it but it has its moments and the wonderful recording more than make up for the shortcomings.
The packaging is simple full color inserts with similar graphics to the other three releases and ties them all together. There are pictures on the CD’s featuring Roger and John plus the kid from the It’s Hard record cover. While perhaps a notch below the New Jersey gig this is still a great performance and the perfect recording makes this title easy to recommend.