East Valley Tribune on Phoenix
brianinatlanta2001 at yahoo.com
Thu Mar 1 16:38:44 CST 2007
The Who rock Valley with classics, new material
Chris Hansen Orf, Get Out
One night after Bob Seger performed for a sellout crowd at Phoenixs US Airways Center, British rock icons The Who played the same venue Wednesday night to a shockingly small audience for a band that packed Sun Devil Stadium in 1982.
The fans that did show up, however, came to see a band with the reputation of being one of the finest live acts in rock history, and The Who did nothing to sully that reputation, from the opening power chords of the mid-'60s hit Cant Explain to the final note of the encore, Tea & Theatre, from the bands 2006 comeback album Endless Wire.
Fans seemed divided on the newer material -- The Who played 10 songs from Endless Wire, including the mini rock opera Wire and Glass -- and while some fans were familiar with the new tunes and stood throughout, others chose to sit until the band kicked in with the classics.
When you fall in love with the classics, thats what you want to hear, said Heather Prest, 24, of Tempe. I dont mind if they play a couple new songs, but not that many.
Scott Lavery of Phoenix, who came to the show with his wife Cindy, likes the new Who record and didnt mind hearing so much of the new disc.
Its like all Who -- high quality right out of the gate, said Lavery. I think it will have the longevity of their classic work.
Only time will tell if Endless Wire will hold up as well as renowned Who albums such as Tommy, Whos Next and Quadrophenia, but guitarist Peter Townshend (who, along with singer Roger Daltrey, are the only two original members of the band left) acknowledged that fans are coming around to the new songs and thanked the crowd for its patience.
We have one more new song to play and then well go on the downward slope into the past, Townshend joked.
Backed by bassist Pino Palladino and drummer Zak Starkey (son of former Beatle Ringo Starr), who admirable filled in for late members John Entwistle and Keith Moon, and Townshends brother Simon on guitar, The Who sounded as powerful as ever, with Pete Townshend often busting out his trademark windmill power chord strokes and Daltrey, one of the finest rock singers ever, still hitting notes in his 60s that he was nailing four decades ago.
The band rolled out such classics as Anyway Anywhere Anyhow, Who Are You, Behind Blue Eyes, Baba OReilly and Wont Get Fooled Again sandwiched around Endless Wire cuts such as Fragments, Black Widows Eyes and A Man in a Purple Dress as well as older rarities such as Real Good Looking Boy and Naked Eye.
The encore included Pinball Wizard and See Me Feel Me from the bands epic rock opera Tommy, and the band left to a long standing ovation, waving as if to say that theyd be back, but that is no sure thing for a band, despite the odd reunion tour here and there, that went 24 years between albums.
Throughout the years The Who has made it a habit of blowing opening bands off the stage, but occasionally, as did a young Lynyrd Skynyrd during The Whos 1973 tour, a band can hold its own on the same bill, and Canadians The Tragically Hip played an impressive 35-minute set of melodic power pop/rock that won the appreciation of the late-arriving crowd.
-Brian in Atlanta
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