Reno Gazette-Journal on Reno
brianinatlanta2001 at yahoo.com
Sat Feb 24 07:08:36 CST 2007
Review: The Who rocks, but with too much new stuff
In The Who's first Reno appearance Friday at the Reno Events Center, the band brought much nostalgia for its near-sold-out crowd, but also a heavy dose of new music for the band's 2 hour, 15 minute show.
Opening with the very first single, 1965's "I Can't Explain," Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey and company wasted no time in bringing the mostly older crowd to its feet.
Daltrey immediately launched into his microphone swings, and Townshend didn't wait through one song to prove he could still perform his trademark windmill guitar playing (although the gymnastic jumps were are no longer a part of the show for the 61-year-old guitarist).
The Who didn't try to distract the audience with flashy visual effects, and their performance throughout the night would prove they didn't need to. A simple five-panel video display showed footage of the band in its past glories as well as random psychedelic images.
Just about 15 minutes into the show the band dug into a somewhat stubborn set consisting mostly of 10 songs from the new album, "Endless Wire," starting off with "Fragments" and closing the show with "Tea and Theatre."
With about 25 songs in the show, devoting almost half to the new album seemed a bit much, given the band's 40-odd years and 10 studio albums. All the new songs, in which the audience seemed mildly interested, left no room for such favorites as "I Can See for Miles," "Love Reign O'er Me," or "Magic Bus."
Still, the band, with Pino Palladino on bass and Ringo Starr-kid Zak Starkey on drums, sounded tight, and had the audience hanging.
Starkey provided a solid foundation worthy of any stormy drumming from original Who drummer Keith Moon, and, dare I say above and beyond the drumming of dad Ringo.
And through such Who classics as "Behind Blue Eyes," "Baba O'Riley" and "My Generation," Townshend and Daltrey proved their worthiness of still being out there commanding top dollar ($70-$170) for tickets.
They didn't pull it all off without error, nor did they try to.
When Daltrey started to sing a wrong song as the band kicked in, he stopped and said, "oh, I haven't got the right key," before realizing he had entirely the wrong song.
Shrugging it off, he said "st happens" to the amused and forgiving crowd.
Townshend paused to share his memories of driving through the Sierras with his daughters in an RV before touching on the band's mid-period with 1982's "Eminence Front."
And they erased any doubt about their modern-day relevance when launching into "Won't Get Fooled Again," where the audience waited, with breath held, for Daltrey's climactic wail of "yee-eahhhh," which he can still hit.
The band returned for an encore of "Pinball Wizard," "Amazing Journey," Sparks" and "See Me Feel Me," before closing with the sleepy duet of just Daltrey and Townshend singing the new "Tea and Theatre," in a display of comaraderie that erased years of arguing.
Openers Rose Hill Drive played a 40-minute set of Southern rock with a tinge of metal that proved to be the best unknown opening act I've seen in years, and the audience seemed to agree. The bass player acknowledged during their set that he had to pinch himself when he announced that The Who was coming up next.
-Brian in Atlanta
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