The Who Are Better You Bet!

November 15th, 2012 by The Professor

Daltrey’s vision of a modern-media Quadrophenia is a surreal sensation on stage

-by Radio RockonTour host Timothy Tilghman

Just where have these two guys been hiding? Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend are touring behind a fourth generation staging of Quadrophenia and the Whuo Duo have never sounded better! Their Tuesday night performance in Washington, D.C., rivaled the magnificence of their singular May 2004 date in NYC. Cancel all the catty criticism about The Who. This revised touring version of the British legend’s 1973 Opus is really the real deal.

Maybe fan anticipation in the aftermath of their last outing in the USA from the 2006/2007 Endless Wire Tour kept expectations artificially low. The Who’s November 13, 2012 appearance was an incendiary affair with the team of musicians firing on all musical cylinders. Celebratory praise does not efficiently describe the intense level of satisfaction the unit generated in concert.

Townshend’s first major musical piece was the Rock Opera Tommy, released in 1969. His next group proposal was the aborted Lifehouse project in 1971, which eventually morphed into the generic Who’s Next album. Townshend’s preoccupation with the quintessentially British battle between the Mods and the Rockers during the early 1960s provided him with a musical vision as the basis for his 1973 theme-album Quadrophenia.

The tale of a Brighton teen torn by four personalities was actually a composite reflection of the four musicians that once constituted the original members of The High Numbers. Townshend’s fictional anti-hero turns 40 next year. Quadrophenia was eventually made into a 1979 cinematic presentation staring Police bassist Sting as Ace Face.

Early Who singles were styled as recordings for the popular Mod market genre. Competing contenders as British Mod outfits were both The Kinks and The Small Faces. Ringo Starr may have delivered the best line in 1964 about the Mod lifestyle confrontations in the film A Hard Day’s Night when asked by a female reporter if he was a Mod or a Rocker. Starr replied, “I’m a Mocker”.

Both Roger Daltrey’s vocals and Pete Townshend’s vocals were exceedingly stronger than during the course of the last Who tour. Plus, Townshend’s forceful guitar assault eclipsed his playing style from the Endless Wire shows. The core band consists of Zachary Starkey on drums, Simon Townshend on guitar, and Pino Palladino on bass. The touring ensemble includes John Corey and Loren Gold on keyboards, Reggie Grisham and J. Greg Miller as the Brass Section, and Frank Simes on guitar.

As a value-added bonus, The Who continued the concert without hesitation by segueing directly into five major Who classics sure to make the most loyal Who fan salivate for more musical treasures. Two incredible highlights were the inclusion of John Entwistle’s bombastic Bass solo during “5:15”, and Keith Moon’s humorous vocals spliced into “Bell Boy”. Daltrey labored to interject these live archived sequences into the Quadrophenia + More Tour production, and Townshend personally recognized Roger for his efforts to create both poignant segments before their lone encore together.

The Who, Verizon Center, Washington, DC, November 13, 2012 setlist: I Am The Sea * The Real Me * Quadrophenia * Cut My Hair * The Punk Meets The Godfather * I’m One (At least) (Pete Townshend vocal) * The Dirty Jobs (Simon Tonwshend vocal) * Helpless Dancer (Roger’s Theme) * Is It In My Head * I’ve Had Enough * 5:15 (Entwistle bass solo) * Sea And Sand * Drowned (Pete Townshend vocal) * Bell Boy (Keith’s Theme – Moon’s vocals) * Dr. Jimmy (John’s Theme) * The Rock * Love, Reign O’er Me (Pete’s Theme) * Who Are You * Behind Blue Eyes * Pinball Wizard * Baba O’Riley * Won’t Get Fooled Again * Encore: Tea And Theater

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