Northwest Herald on Sears Center
brianinatlanta2001 at yahoo.com
Tue Mar 6 06:13:33 CST 2007
Concert review: Amazing Townshend sparks decent Who performance
Of all the so-called classic rock bands, none still teeter on the brink of danger like The Who.
Down to just two founding members singer Roger Daltrey and songwriter/guitarist Pete Townshend the band snatched excitement from a setlist nearly identical to the one it played at Chicago's United Center in September.
If the song choices (predictable hits and stuff from the 2006 record "Endless Wire") weren't anything to rile up a loyal Who fan, Townshend's restless performance was.
There were windmills galore from the guitar break in "I Can't Explain" all the way to the sweeping climax of "See Me, Feel Me" rampant power chords and ham-fisted jabs. The lanky axeman continually pounded his cherry-colored guitar like a redheaded stepchild, jamming out the ending to "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere," adding a frenetic coda to "Won't Get Fooled Again" and spiking even the sleepiest moments (the Elvis tribute "Real Good Looking Boy" and the polished, if pointless, mini-opera) with jagged riffs.
For those of us who come just to watch Townshend, Monday night at Sears Center was a treat. As for the rest of the band, the two-plus hour performance was just OK. Zak Starkey (yes, Ringo's son) remains a powerhouse on drums and worthy heir to Keith Moon. But session bassist Pino Palladino's playing lacks personality, keyboardist John "Rabbit" Bundrick tends to gum up the rawer rock moments and extra guitarist/back-up singer Simon Townshend (yes, Pete's brother) is simply superfluous.
In rock 'n' roll, and especially in The Who's case, less is so often more. "My Generation" has never needed, nor will it ever benefit from, an extra guitar or keyboards. Heck, during September's show, it didn't even need its singer. When Daltrey ran backstage with some vocal trouble, Townshend filled in and ended up with an impromptu highlight.
Although Daltrey sang all his parts this time, he again sounded like he was having problems with his voice. Drinking tea from a mug on the edge of the stage between songs, the singer's usually robust chords wavered occasionally and missed a few high notes.
Not to worry, though, he still managed his trademark primal yelp at the end of "Won't Get Fooled Again," bent over at center stage as his "Yeeeaaaaahhhhhh" bounced off the rafters like a pinball.
Speaking of pinball, it's not likely there's a better way to end a Who show then with a bunch of "Tommy" material, especially when it includes one of rock's great instrumentalists (Townshend) slamming, chugging and shaking his guitar through one of rock's great instrumentals (the pre-metal workout "Sparks").
See me, feel me, indeed.
The Who at Sears Centre, March 5
1. "I Can't Explain"
2. "The Seeker"
3. "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere"
5. "Who Are You"
6. "Behind Blue Eyes"
7. "Real Good Looking Boy"
8. "Wire & Glass" (mini-opera)
9. "Baba O'Riley"
10. "Eminence Front"
11. "Man in a Purple Dress"
12. "Black Widow's Eyes"
13. "You Better You Bet"
14. "My Generation"
15. "Cry If You Want"
16. "Won't Get Fooled Again"
17. "Naked Eye"
18. "Pinball Wizard"
19. "Amazing Journey"
21. "See Me, Feel Me"
22. "Tea & Theatre"
-Brian in Atlanta
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