Last weekend, I saw The Who play at Value City Arena on the campus of The Ohio State University. I know what you’re thinking: It’s not exactly The Who without drummer Keith Moon and bassist John Entwistle. Half the band has already passed away.
That being said, Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend sound just as good as when they were playing for crowds during the British Invasion of the 1960s. The tour is being billed as “Quadrophenia and More.” “Quadrophenia” was the rock opera originally released in 1973 by the British Mod rock outfit. The band barreled through the album from start to finish in front of a packed arena. Townshend’s guitar, Daltrey’s powerful voice and Zak Starkey, the son of the ex-Beatle Ringo Starr, entertained the audience for a solid two-hour set.
The horn section was also striking on such tracks as “5:15,” as Townshend himself was visibly impressed himself. After, they finished their set with some more popular numbers as “Behind Blue Eyes” and “We Won’t Get Fooled.”
Again, I was left thinking about how The Who influenced my own interest in music, along with virtually every other rock band around today. The punk scene of the 1970s always paid tribute to The Who, especially in the United Kingdom. The band’s repertoire reached across many different areas of music. Besides “Quadrophenia,” The Who also dove into the rock opera genre with “Tommy.” “Tommy” has been performed on stage regularly throughout the world since its inception. The Who also had feature-length movies in “Tommy” and “Quadrophenia.”
In seventh grade, I started to play guitar, largely due to watching old concerts with Pete Townshend hammering away at his Gibson SG at Woodstock and Leeds. Describing the band’s live show as “eccentric” would be an understatement. Between Townshend’s guitar smashing and Keith Moon’s bass drum explosions, The Who never failed to entertain. During the middle of the show, the band played “Bell Boy,” and the screen behind the band showed the late Keith Moon singing and drumming, as he did during live performances in the 1970s. The look on Daltrey’s face when he saw his old bandmate and friend playing again with the band showed me that the love for music really never dies.
Many people think bands such as The Rolling Stones, The Who or any other band in their 60s only tour or release new music for the money. The money doesn’t hurt, but watching Daltrey and Townshend enjoy themselves on stage like they did at the height of their career proves that music can transcend the high payouts given from live performances. Entwistle, the late Who bassist, had a bass solo looped through the sound system during the hit song “5:15.”
I really thought it was a nice touch to show appreciation for the past members of the band on stage. They were a large part of the band’s progression throughout the years, and not showing that appreciation on stage would have been wrong.