Evening Standard on RAH
brianinatlanta2001 at yahoo.com
Mon Apr 2 08:48:47 CDT 2007
Teenage Cancer Trust: The Who
4 stars - David Smyth's rating
5 stars - reader's rating
No substitute for fire
By David Smyth, Evening Standard 02.04.07
Although Roger Daltrey organises the Albert Hall's annual week of concerts in aid of Teenage Cancer Trust, The Who do not always perform. But right now the band's two surviving members seem to have an unquenchable thirst for the stage.
They have announced an extensive European tour this summer, agreed to top the bill at Glastonbury and on Friday Pete Townshend even popped up at Islington's tiny Bar Academy to jam with Joe Purdy, a singer-songwriter he admires.
Here, despite claiming jetlag from their just-finished US tour and promising that their forthcoming shows will be much more spectacular, they still poured everything into a perpetually fiery set.
On paper it looked insignificant: just 11 songs and a medley from Tommy to close. In reality this amounted to more than 90 minutes of epic musicianship, Townshend in particular enhancing the songs with numerous raging guitar solos.
He pummelled his instrument to coax squalls of noise over Who Are You, his right arm spinning like a fairground ride. Daltrey was equally acrobatic with his microphone cord, his familiar stage moves echoing the vintage footage screened above his head during I Can't Explain.
As with the Rolling Stones, no one goes to a Who concert desperate for new material, but the band could hardly be begrudged a smattering from their first album in 24 years, Endless Wire.
Unfortunately, they picked some of the more heavy-handed songs, particularly A Man in a Purple Dress, a rail against religion and authority in general. Won't Get Fooled Again had a similar theme but was far better fun. Newer members Zak Starkey and Pino Palladino formed an impeccable engine room, but it was Townshend who channelled the angry spirit of the band. Roll on the summer.
-Brian in Atlanta
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