The Republican on Mohegan Sun

Brian Cady brianinatlanta2001 at
Fri Oct 31 12:50:39 CDT 2008

The kids are still all right
Friday, October 31,2008
By KEVIN O'HAREMusic writer

UNCASVILLE, Conn. - With news this week that Led Zeppelin might be considering a reunion with some fill-in for singer Robert Plant, one can only be thankful that The Who'sPete Townshend and Roger Daltrey know just how far past its prime one can take a legendary band.

Sure, Townshend and Daltrey have gone their separate ways at times, and after the deaths of their maniacal drummer Keith Moon and wildman bass player John Entwistle, there were plenty of snide jokes about The Who's attempts to carry on.

But as they showed before a full house at the Mohegan Sun Arena on Tuesday night, as long as they have chief songwriter Townshend, now 63, on guitar and vocals, and lead singer Daltrey, now 64, the kids are still all right and soare The Who. 

Their two-hour performance Tuesday touched on all aspects of their enduring career, kicking in with early songs from their breakout days in England. They blasted off with the double-barreled shot of "I Can't Explain," their 1965 hit single, and "The Seeker." Townshend in particular seemed especially loose, laughing about the dressing rooms at the venue and noting before "Relay" that the song was crafted "sort of about the Internet before it happened." Later he expressed amazement with the whole casino experience,drawing laughs from fans when he attempted to summarize it by saying, "You drink, you gamble, you come and see The Who."

Townshend and Daltrey's backing band was rock solid throughout the performance and included bassist Pino Palladino, keyboard player John Bundrick, and the mightydrummer Zak Starkey, son of Ringo Starr. Townshend's brother, Simon, was also on board on second guitar.

By the time they got to "Who Are You?" just five songs into the set, they owned the audience, thanks to a combination of sharp dynamics, crisp piano runs and a dazzling Townshend guitar solo. His trademark "windmill" guitar blasts were in full bloom by this point as well, drawing howls of approval from the crowd each time he let it fly.

Mid-set standouts included "Behind Blue Eyes," during which Daltrey showed he's singing much better than during the band's 2006 tour. It wasn't a night strictly for vintage material as they offered a tasty homage through the relatively recent Elvis Presley homage "Real Good Looking Boy."

After "Sister Disco," The Who electrified the crowd with "Baba O'Riley," which wound down with a blazing Daltrey harmonica solo. The night built to an emotional high point with Townshend taking over vocals for "Eminence Front," before "5:15," and a gut-wrenching Daltrey vocal on "Love Reign O'er Me."

Surprisingly, perhaps shockingly, one of the few disappointments was "My Generation," which started strong, but was marred by the inclusion of several borderline improvisational verses that left the song too drawn out. Thankfully, they recovered quickly with an anthemic "Won't Get Fooled Again," with Daltrey spinning the microphone, Townshend blasting windmills, rolling back the clock effortlessly as if time stood still more than three decades earlier.

Encore highlights included several bits from the band's groundbreaking rock opera "Tommy," including "Pinball Wizard" and "See Me, Feel Me." The night ended appropriately with just Townshend and Daltrey on stage doing the nostalgic "Tea & Theatre," from the "Endless Wire" album.

Openers Inward Eye, turned in a moderately successful eight-song set of punk-fueled rock, sparked by "Second Class Citizen" and "The Hypocrite Hop."

 -Brian in Atlanta
The Who This Month!


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