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Review Sydney, Thu, 29 July 2004

Guess Who's still rockin'

The Herald Sun, 01-08-2004

"I HOPE I die before I get old," might be one of the most famous lines in rock history, but thousands of fans last night were thrilled that The Who is still alive and kicking.

Guitarist and songwriter Pete Townshend was talking about his generation, but judging by the teenagers dancing in the aisles at Vodafone Arena last night, alongside people old enough to be their grandparents, the songs have lost none of their power.

Thirty six years after its last tour of Australia, when the band vowed never to return, The Who delivered a blistering no-nonsense set of hits from the '60s classic to material from last year.

Led by Townshend and singer Roger Daltrey, the band came out firing with a bracket of early hits including I Can't Explain, Substitute and Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere.

Despite losing two original members, The Who still packs an awesome punch.

Zak Starkey, son of Beatle Ringo Starr, deputises for the late Keith Moon and Pino Palladino sits in for the recently departed bassist John Entwhistle.

Pete's younger brother, Simon Townshend, chimed in on rhythm guitar and vocals with long-time touring member pianist John Bundrick completing the line-up.

Daltrey, 60, swaggers around the stage swinging his microphone with the energy of a man half his age, belting through crowd-pleasers Baba O'Riley and Who Are You.

Townshend, though, steals the show, playing like a man possessed and combining his trademark windmills, driving rhythm playing and searing lead work, to show why he is so revered and imitated in the rock pantheon.

He leapt around the stage attacking his Stratocaster during My Generation, Who give-away, had received a Fender Stratocaster guitar signed by Townshend and Daltrey, and presented by Daltrey.

Diehard Who fan Bettio was ecstatic to have won the competition, which attracted more than 7000 entries.

"Ever since I was little I have been listening to The Who. Pete Townshend is a rock legend. I have a few guitars already, but this one takes the cake," Bettio said.


James Wigney