Tri-Valley Herald on Shoreline

Brian Cady brianinatlanta2001 at
Tue Aug 10 06:49:53 CDT 2004

On line at:,1413,86~10715~2325258,00.html

Even Who's new songs are alright Group still comes
across as a band with a future 

By Jim Harrington 

TWO years ago, The Who managed to defy expectations,
logic and, really, proper protocol by successfully
returning to the stage just four days after its
original bassist, John Entwistle, died of a heart
attack in a Las Vegas hotel room. 

The group's gig at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in
Mountain View in 2002, just its second without
Entwistle, turned out to be both a joyous celebration
of classic rock at its finest and a tribute to the
dearly departed band member known alternately as
"Thunderfingers," "Ox" and "The Quiet One." 

The band returned Saturday to Shoreline and the result
was nearly as glorious. Having survived hard times,
vocalist Roger Daltrey, guitarist Pete Townshend and
crew clearly illustrated once again why The Who has
long been considered one of the best live acts in the
music industry. 

Looking back at the past 

The band revisited its legendary past, playing solid
versions of such immortal classics as "Substitute,"
"Behind Blue Eyes" and nearly 20 others. Although the
near-capacity crowd had heard these decades-old songs
countless times before, the music still sounded fresh,
relevant and urgent. 

Perhaps more significantly, The Who came across like a
band with a future. 

The group is currently working on an album of new
material, its first since 1982, and the players gave
the appreciative audience a taste of what is to come.
The Who played two new songs, "Real Good Looking Boy"
and "Old Red Wine," and, impressively, they stood tall
next to the likes of "Pinball Wizard" and "Behind Blue

For those who can't wait for the new album, these
tracks can also be found on the recent greatest-hits
compilation, "Then and Now." 

Song-to-song momentum 

Coming out of the gate with the traditional opener "I
Can't Explain," The Who charged straight through a
batch of early favorites. The momentum carried over
from song to song as the band rocked the house with
"Substitute," "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere," "Baba
O'Riley" and "You Better You Bet." 

It's getting increasingly hard to tell the players
without a scorecard. But they were each solid in their
roles. Simon Townshend played a marvelous "second
fiddle" to brother Pete on guitar and filled the high
harmonies once sung by 

Entwistle on numbers like "The Kids Are Alright." Pino
Palladino, still with the band after quickly taking
over bass duties in 2002, thundered in his own way
even if he can never replace Thunderfingers. 

Drummer Zak Starkey proved to be the most prominent
replacement player as he pounded in a more controlled
manner than the man who once held the throne, Keith
Moon. Still, this son of Beatle Ringo Starr is a very
stylish player and his energy fueled mountainous
versions of "Who Are You" and "Eminence Front." 

Despite all the side players' fine efforts, it was
hard to pay attention to anyone other than Townshend
and Daltrey. 

The guitarist, having shaken off the bedbugs that had
colored much of his sleepy playing prior to 2002, was
a whirlwind of excitement on this night as he slashed
and windmilled his way through "Baba O'Riley" and "Who
Are You." 

The age-defying vocalist exhibited plenty of youthful
swagger and rock-star charisma as he howled out the
lyrics to "Love, Reign O'er Me." His ear-splitting
scream in "Won't Get Fooled Again" remains a true

Luckily, in this case, it only paused the show. 

Following the set-ending "Won't Get Fooled Again," the
band reconvened on stage for a mini-opera from the
1969 epic "Tommy." 

Starting with quickly strummed guitar opening of
"Pinball Wizard," the band zigzagged like said shiny
metal ball down "Amazing Journey" and "Sparks" before
reaching a dramatic climax with the "See Me" and
"Listening to You" segments of "We're Not Gonna Take

The Ox would have been proud. 

You can write music critic Jim Harrington at
jimthecritic at .

-Brian in Atlanta
The Who This Month!

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