Hamilton Spectator on Hamilton
brianinatlanta2001 at yahoo.com
Thu Oct 23 06:35:13 CDT 2008
The old guys are alright
October 23, 2008
By Graham Rockingham
The Hamilton Spectator
It started out a nostalgic, but fairly staid affair. Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend — the two surviving members of one of the greatest rock bands ever — trotted out onto the Copps Coliseum stage last night, offering up their typical opener, I Can’t Explain.
It’s a fitting start to a Who concert, the band’s first single from way back in 1965. Back then it seemed strident, but now it just seemed, well, sentimental.
The video screen behind them showed scenes from the ’60s when The Who were the wild ones, crazy and unpredictable, violent and destructive. There were plenty of shots of their late bandmates — John Entwistle and Keith Moon — mugging for the camera, both looking utterly scurrilous.
Daltrey, at 64, in his wire-rimmed glasses and closely cropped hair, looked rather bookish as he twirled a few short hoops with his microphone chord. Townshend, removing a dark blazer to reveal a black and white striped pullover, looked more like a French waiter than the rock ‘n’ roll genius he is.
Things picked up through The Seeker and the nostalgia turned sing-a-long for The Kids Are Alright. But a funny thing happened somewhere in the midst of song number 5.
Townshend leaned over his guitar and lit into an intricate but familiar solo before lurching into it full throttle, leg fully extended and fingers thrashing. The windmills came in a flourish.
Daltrey threw his head back and roared into the final verses of Who Are You. Zack Starkey’s double bass drum kit rolled out the thunder in a way that would have made his long deceased mentor, Keith Moon, proud. Everything came together in an intensity only one band could produce.
At that moment, the more than 11,000 fans may not have known who they were, but they certainly knew where they were. They were at a Who concert. And it was magnificent.
After that nobody minded when Daltrey slowed things down for Behind Blue Eyes and his homage to Elvis, Real Good Looking Boy. We knew they’d be bringing the house down again soon with Sister Disco, Baba O’Reilly,
Getting In Tune and Eminence Front.
Very few people were looking at the screen any more, at least not until it started showing scenes of the commuter madness that signalled the driving “out of my brain on the train” theme of Quadrophenia’s 5:15 and it’s logical followup, Reign O’er Me.
There was nothing sentimental about the power behind the next two numbers — My Generation and Won’t Get Fooled Again.
They played them like the anthems they are.
After encores were finally over, one thing was clear — the old guys are still, very much, Alright.
-Brian in Atlanta
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