Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario, Canada – December 16, 1982
Disc 1: (66:11) Intro, My Generation, I Can’t Explain, Dangerous, Sister Disco, The Quiet One, It’s Hard, Eminence Front, Behind Blue Eyes, Baba O’Riley, Doctor Jimmy, Boris The Spider, Drowned, Cry If You Want
Disc 2: (58:30) Who Are You, Pinball Wizard, See Me Feel Me, Love Ain’t For Keeping, 5:15, Love Reign O’er Me, Long Live Rock, Won’t Get Fooled Again, Naked Eye, Squeeze Box, Twist And Shout
The last (by concert date) in a small batch of 1982 soundboards to surface for The Who’s “first” Farewell Tour comes the first of two shows in Toronto. Like the others (New Jersey, Portland, Oakland) this features an excellent very well balanced stereo soundboard with the audience heard primarily between tracks. Their stop in Toronto is not only significant for being the last two dates from the tour but also for the Pay-Per-View and broadcast from the December 17th concert. This was released officially in 2006 on CD and DVD as Live From Toronto (Immortal). Now, thankfully for The Who collector, Toronto 1982 1st Night presents the previous night in excellent soundboard quality.
As stated in my previous review of the Oakland show, the entire tour consisted of two North American legs that followed just two warm-up dates at the NEC in Birmingham, UK. The first leg ran from September 22, 1982 through October 31, 1982 while the second leg picked up on November 27, 1982 and ran until December 17, 1982. Tim Gorman was employed as keyboardist for this tour who also played on the latest record.
The Who opens the show with “My Generation”. “Substitute” was also used as the opener for some of the dates on this tour and would occasionally appear later in the set but appears to have been dropped altogether tonight. Pete plays some interesting licks for the solo in “My Generation” and segues quickly into “I Can’t Explain” delivering a powerful one-two punch to start the evening. Around the 1:43 mark there are a few strange noises that last only for a few seconds and are probably on the master used and are not a manufacturing defect. The John Entwistle penned “Dangerous” from It’s Hard is the first of the new material and Gorman’s keyboards add a nice texture to the track. Without hesitation they launch into “Sister Disco” from the Who Are You LP. Daltrey and Townshend share the vocals on this one and Pete adds some extra lyrics in the middle and some colorful licks during the outro.
After Roger’s intro for “Big Johnny Twinkle”, Entwistle says “this is one off the Face Dances album, I don’t think it concerns any of you, it’s called “The Quiet One”, referring to the extra loud audience. This sounds very heavy tonight and Entwistle delivers a smoldering lead vocal with a little help from Daltrey in the choruses. Pete’s solos are out of control during this one. Two new ones follow with “It’s Hard” and “Eminence Front”. “It’s Hard” plays out much heavier than its studio counterpart and receives a loud ovation at the end while “Eminence Front” continues to features Pete burning up on guitar.
“Very strange, but very nice to be able to see the audience…because normally we can’t see you…it’s a king of novelty, I am still getting used to it” Pete says before “Behind Blue Eyes”. “You look very nice” Daltrey adds before Pete quips “dressed to kill” as he sang in the previous track.
The first hint of the “Baba O’Riley” sequence sends the crowd into frenzy. The concert staple always excites the audience and they can be heard singing along with Pete during the “Don’t cry” section. “Doctor Jimmy” which replaced “I Can See For Miles” is a nice surprise. At 4:18 it sounds noticeable weaker with less low end but the sound returns before “Boris The Spider”. Both tracks were added to the set from December 6th onwards. “Drowned” was a consistent highlight during this tour from the Quadrophenia LP and “Cry If You Want” marches past seven minutes complete with more aggressive guitar from Townshend. He really is having an “on” night.
From here on out we get nothing but classics starting with “Who Are You”. Daltrey sounds like he is playing it safe and doesn’t push his vocals too much during this one. “Pinball Wizard” and “See Me, Feel Me” make up a (very) short Tommy medley and is followed by another surprise in the set with “Love Ain’t For Keeping”. This was only added during the last couple weeks of dates and sounds very fresh. Pete dedicates this one “to you”. “5:15” quickly follows with Roger’s voice starting to show signs of fatigue but surprisingly sounds stronger during “Love Reign O’er Me”. The sound quality changes slightly from 2:39 to 2:57 and may be patched from a different source. “Long Live Rock” and “Won’t Get Fooled Again” bring a very strong finish to the main set.
Townshend kicks off the encore section with “Naked Eye”. Kenney Jones definitely plays the track a bit slower and steadier than Moon used too. “Squeeze Box” makes an appearance in the set (it was not played every night). It mellows the mood some and seems like an odd choice for an encore but nonetheless is a decent version and is the only track from The Who By Numbers that was featured during the entire tour. “Twist And Shout” closes the show with a lead vocal from Entwistle.
Toronto 1982 1st Night is packaged in a double slimline jewel case with some interesting live shots and very nice picture discs. The Who were playing exceptionally well, especially Pete, during this tour and the quality of the performances and sound of these 1982 soundboards are all excellent and has me hoping that more of these shows will surface. Like all of the previous 1982 titles mentioned from this label, this is definitely recommended.