DigitallyObsessed on Live At Boston DVD

Brian Cady brianinatlanta2001 at
Thu Sep 30 06:18:24 CDT 2004

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The Who: Live in Boston (2004)

I only swear at people I love. So f***-off all of you!
- Pete Townshend

Review By: Jeff Rosado  
Published: September 29, 2004

Upon first glance at the cover for The Who: Live in
Boston, there is no denying the sadness. Like many
longtime fans, the familiar site of late bass master
John Entwistle in his usual businessman-like pose of
looking to stage left (or in the direction of Roger
and Pete) has become second nature, almost to the
point of taking him for granted. Though time has
softened the blow to a point, his absence continues to
leave a void. 

Just as they did in the wake of Keith Moon's also
untimely passing, Daltrey and Townshend soldiered on.
Risking ridicule and subjecting themselves to claims
of greediness following such a tragedy by forging
ahead with their first tour in five years, the
remaining members of one of rock's greatest bands took
their legacy out on the road once more, and wound up
with some of the best reviews of their career. 

Backed by longtime keyboard sideman John Bundrick and
recent additions Zak Starkey on drums (son of Richard
"Ringo" Starkey, MBE), Simon Townshend on backing
vocals/rhythm guitar (Pete's little brother) and Pino
Palladino on bass (who wisely doesn't try to recreate
the trebly attack of Entwistle and winds up being a
terrific addition to the band under precarious
circumstances), the sextet perform a set that's a
wonderful concoction of rarities, and time-tested
warhorses offering ample proof why fans and critics
walked away raving. 

Following a low-key, bombast-free entrance onto an
intimate, fan-friendly stage, all it takes are the
opening power chords of I Can't Explain bursting from
Townshend's speakers and its almost like Live at Leeds
all over again, but not in a nostalgic sense. Unlike
tours of recent vintage that featured too many
musicians (the Tommy 25th anniversary trek comes to
mind) that sometimes threatened to overshadow the core
members, Townshend and Daltrey perform with renewed
commitment to their material. Instrumentally, I don't
think Pete's played this strongly in eons (check out
his stabbing attack on Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere and
the jazzy playout that closes 5:15). As for Roger, his
occasional flat notes and rustiness at the Concert for
New York a few years back gave me reason for worry.
But like all the great rock vocalists who skillfully
adjust their aging vocal chords and don't try to act
like they're 22 all over again, he pulls off some
amazing performances, particularly on Baba O'Reily,
the eternally powerful My Generation and the suite of
Tommy classics presented as encores (including Pinball
Wizard and See Me, Feel Me).

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A

-Brian in Atlanta
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