Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Who: Live In Chicago

The Who were are a pretty kick ass rock group. It all started in 1964 with Townshend's distinctive power chords, Moon's explosive drumming, and Daltrey's powerful vocals. Today, it continues with Townshend and Daltrey rediscovering the limits of how hard they can rock.

Last night, The Who entered the stage as a duo. Townshend and Daltrey - the only two living members capable of reminding the world why they're one of the best bands of history. Aside from their typical awesome rock act, there was something different about the duo. Perhaps it was still being able to perform in front of sellout crowd at the United Center? Maybe it was their incredible setlist? Or having new material releasing soon? I can't really put my finger on the exact cause for their energy, but I can say that Pete Townshend stole the show.

Right before seaguing into their famed "My Generation", Daltrey's voice gave out as he was having trouble breathing. Daltrey exited the stage and Who-fanatics were perplexed. Townshend came to the mic, "Rog is having some trouble breathing, so he is going to get some oxygen. As much as we'd hate to do this next song without him .. we're gonna try anyways." It was during this song that Townshend overcompensated, and uncaged one of the finest performances I've ever seen at a concert. "My Generation" wasn't just some nostalgic ballad that took everyone back to 1965, but became a soundtrack of who Townshend and his audience are now. The 61-year-old rocker turned the now infamous line, "Hope I die before I get old," into a chant of defiance. "I can't die ... We can't die ... There are too many of us!"

Daltrey returned for a lengthy encore and hearing him scream during "Won't Get Fooled Again" was a sound that an entire arena welcomed. Many people say that drummers are interchangeable, but Keith Moon isn't just a drummer you replicate. The presence of Moon's rapid and powerful drum beats have been sorely missed by The Who, but drummer Zak Starkey is very suitable and talented replacement. Being the son of Ringo doesn't hurt things, but Starkey's talent was reaffirmed when Moon gave him his first drumming kit as young lad. Instead of the typical audience moaning when a band plays new material, these fans applauded (and rightfully so). While they only played segments of their new tracks, nearly all of them displayed growth and promise to an eager audience.

Through Daltrey's microphone swinging, Townshend's swinging arm guitar playing, and a lingering odor of 60's tobacco amongst the fifty-something crowd - it was as if two decades changed nothing more than clothing style and stage displays. At the end of the show, Daltrey and Townshend looked more than content for a show performed by 60-year-olds. They looked refreshed, touched, ready to rock for another hour, and ultimately reminded entire generations of music fans why they still rock as senior citizens.

[MP3] The Who - Pinball Wizard

See them live - while their still on tour!
Read about The Flaming Lips encounter with Townshend.


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