Last night, Pete Townshend and Rodger Daltrey brought their The Who Hits 50 Tour!! to the Allstate Arena in Rosemount, Illinois. The tour is celebration the 50th anniversary of the band and Pete Townshend describes the show as “Hit’s, Picks, Mixes and Misses” while Rodger Daltrey has referred to it as a “long goodbye.”
I drove down from Minneapolis, met up with an old friend from high school and then went to the concert.
The seats where slight of stage right, quarter of the way up the first rise from the back of main floor. I tend to like this area for a show because being back and center of the house provides for a better viewing of the stage show.
I have seen clips of shows at the beginning of the tour and the vocal and technical issues that were noticeable then weren’t present at all last night.
It was classic Who. With Pete ripping it up on guitar, wind-milling with frequency and an occasional jump or slight duck walk; his guitar rang out, flowing though chord progressions and screamin’ riffs reaffirming his signature style. For a guy 6 days shy of his 70th birthday, although his stage gymnastics aren’t what they once were, his playing still reflected his guitar god status
Roger strutted about the stage, swinging his mike about in small arcs and curves, hitting well-know notes with accuracy, but not to the duration of the past. At times he would go silent and wave his hands like a conductor leading the capacity crowd of 18,500 to carry the verse. His harmonica playing still brought the frenzied finish to the last song of the evening Won’t Get Fooled Again. At 70, with light blue tinted glasses and mid length Mod curls, he still maintains a solid frontman presence.
The six member band consisting of Pete’s brother Simon playing rhythm guitar, Zak Starkey on drums, Pino Palladino on bass, Loren Gold, Frank Simes and John Corey sharing backing vocals, piano, keyboards, jaw harp, banjo and bass harmonica created a out a solid background for two icons presence.
Starkey’s drumming and Pino’s bass guitar certainly couldn’t replace Moonie nor Ox’s intensity, yet seemed to fill the space comparably.
The visual graphics flowing across the stage’s background screen ranged from photographic images of the band from their earlier days for My Generation, a big blue eye for Behind Blue Eyes to psychedelic imagery of the 60’s for Join Together and the techno-computerized graphics of the 80’s for Eminence Front.
The crowd consisted of mainly of folks in there 50’s and 60’s but there was a considerable amount of “kids” in their 20’s and 30’s. There were numerous parents who had teen kids in tow.
I was at The Who’s 25th Anniversary Tour at Alpine Valley in the summer of 1989, but was trippin’ balls on magic mushrooms and really don’t remember much except hopping around like a mad Mod dancing, Pete’s loud guitar and John Entwislte’s thundering bass solo. Clean and sober now, I clearity of recall seeing Roger perform Tommy LIVE in 2011; and Pete and Rodger performing Qaudrophenia LIVE in 2012.
No matter when I see these two perform, it brings me excitement and joy to see music of my youth unfold live on stage and am very happy that neither they or I died before we got old.