The Who look good, sound young at Bowl

Brian Cady brianinatlanta2001 at
Wed Aug 11 06:13:50 CDT 2004

>From U Music at:,1413,211~23540~2325813,00.html

The Who look good, sound young at Bowl
By Quinn Hanchette
Staff Writer

When the Who last visited the Hollywood Bowl, in July
2002, bassist John Entwistle had died four days
earlier in a Las Vegas hotel.
Pete Townshend decided to soldier on, to the ire of
many fans. The Who recruited session ace Pino
Palladino to replace Entwistle, and the resulting show
had all the urgency and unease of a band fighting its
reputation as a soulless, overpriced nostalgia act.

Monday night at the Bowl, both Townshend and singer
Roger Daltrey thanked the L.A. crowd for their support
that night. More important, they rewarded the audience
with a better concert that made a strong argument for
the band's survival. 

Daltrey, 60, in a paisley satin shirt and blue tinted
sunglasses, and Townshend, 59, warding off the August
chill with a black suit and gray striped muffler,
ripped into their now-customary medley of '60s hits,
"Can't Explain," "Substitute" and a skillfully
syncopated "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere." But - to the
amazement of this reviewer - the show really got going
when they played a new song, "Real Good Looking Boy."

Hearing the rather limp recorded version of this
track, released earlier this year, one could accuse
Townshend of indulging his worst traits as a
songwriter. On the airwaves, "Boy" is a sentimental
sop to finding joy in middle age and a stumbling
tribute to Elvis Presley. But on stage the song felt
fresh and taut. It seemed to rejuvenate Daltrey, who
had sounded bored during "Behind Blue Eyes," usually a
showcase for him.

Daltry didn't falter for the rest of the night. Both
he and the returning Palladino - fluid and supple
throughout - shone during selections from
"Quadrophenia." Drummer Zak Starkey, who's looking and
sounding more like a young Keith Moon the older he
gets, played off the new bassist beautifully.
Townshend's brother, the guitarist Simon, and
keyboardist John "Rabbit" Bundrick rounded out the

As for Townshend, he has become what he never was in
the Who's heyday with Entwistle and Moon: a phenomenal
soloist. Freed from keeping rhythm in a band with an
overachieving rhythm section, he unleashed scorching
riffs and wrung beautiful, pained melody from his
blood-red Stratocaster. He rode "Eminence Front,"
normally a meek jazzy number, like a runaway
locomotive, and gave "Old Red Wine," another
disappointing new song, a much-needed backbone of
crashing chords. Townshend's lone acoustic number,
"Drowned," was a delight, and he is singing better
than he has in years.

Throughout the evening Townshend windmilled and leaped
and even assumed the splayed posture of his classic
birdman pose, something he hasn't done since the days
when he wore shiny jackets with ruffled cuffs. But the
skinny Mod is gone, as Townshend - to paraphrase
another one of his songs - seems to have worked off
his recent frustrations at the gym. He is lean and
mean, and as the Who wrapped up this very short leg of
an ongoing tour, one actually hopes he and Daltrey
take their energy into a nearby recording studio
before rigor mortis sets in. 

Quinn Hanchette, (818) 713-3698
quinn.hanchette at

-Brian in Atlanta
The Who This Month!

Do you Yahoo!?
Yahoo! Mail is new and improved - Check it out!

More information about the TheWho mailing list