The Who now consist of only two living members, but don’t tell that to Roger Daltrey or Pete Townshend.
These two sexagenarian rockers still know how to put on a live show, one that many of today’s music stars are incapable of performing. Daltrey, 68, and Townshend, 67, recently swung The Who’s North American tour of “The Who: Quadrophenia and More” – “Quadropheina” being the band’s 1973 rock opera that revolved around the life of Jimmy, a teenage Mod looking for acceptance in Britain in the 1960s.
I never thought I would ever see The Who live, yet alone see The Who perform “Quadrophenia,” my favorite album. So I jumped at the opportunity to drive the two hours to Louisville to see The Who at the KFC Yum! Center.
The Who has tried, on several occasions, to tour “Quadrophenia,” but it usually ends with the band fighting and exhausted with Townshend’s work being too much for a four-piece rock band to handle.
This version, though, was created by Daltrey, and it was fantastic.
The stage had three circular video boards hanging above it with two more to the side.
Throughout the entire show, video was played that correlated with the music. On several occasions, there were tributes to former band members, John Entwistle and Keith Moon.
Entwistle’s was during “5:15,” when a video of one of his bass solos was shown entirely as drummer Zak Starkey, son of Ringo Starr, played along. Moon’s cameo in the song “Bell Boy” from the original “Quadrophenia” tour was synced up with the band and created a playful and touching back-and-forth between Daltrey singing the chorus and Moon as the song’s main character.
Daltrey, who has had problems with his voice over the last few years, was in peak form.
While he couldn’t reach some of the notes he once could, some of the tracks from the album were synced to play along with the band, so the audience had young Daltrey and old Daltrey coming together to form a rich texture, especially for songs like “Sea and Sand” and “The Dirty Jobs.”
Townshend was superb on guitar, as always, and was energetic, windmilling and jumping around the stage like a much younger version of himself.
After playing “Quadrophenia,” The Who played through some of the fan favorites like “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” “Pinball Wizard,” “Baba O’Riley,” “Behind Blue Eyes” and “Who Are You.”
It was a nearly four-hour concert played by almost 70-year-old rock legends for a large audience that still vividly remembers the 1960s. Not really the place for a 22- year-old, but it was one of the best times I’ve ever had.
So in the words of The Who:
Long live rock.