The kids may just be alright but the old guys are great. Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend brought The Who or The Two (as some are referring to them these days) to Chicago last night and they proceeded to blow the roof off of the United Center.
Although, at one point during the show it looked like this might be their final performance when Daltrey had problems catching his breath after "You Better You Bet". After a few brief words to Townshend, the weary singer slowly exited the stage leaving Townshend and the band to perform a loose version of the classic anthem, "My Generation" that went into the song, "Cry If You Want". Daltrey retuned there after proclaiming he wasn’t dead yet and proved it with a hard rocking version of "Won’t Get Fooled Again". As the audience applauded in unison, Daltrey stuck to his word coming back alive swinging his microphone as Townshend kicked it up a notch coming closer to Daltry playing off of his new found energy.
After all these years the chemistry of Daltrey and Townshend is still there and more alive then ever. Call them what you will but these guys can still rock and they have the arsenal of hits as their tools to do so. Tonight’s show was no exception as the boys opened with a few of their early hits including "I Can’t Explain", "Anyhow Anyway Anywhere" and "The Seeker". Yet, tonight was also about previewing some of the new songs playing a song called "Fragments" and the mini-opera "Wire & Glass" which they released earlier this year. Just a few songs they have been known to preview recently that will be included on an album of new material and their first album since 1982’s "It’s Hard".
"Let’s pretend we just went off stage and we had our oxygen, our transfusions, our coke and brandy like rock stars do…or did", Townshend jokes to the crowd before introducing the band. Still larger than life, the guitar God may look more like a college professor these days but he can deliver his signature windmills and can jump around with the best of them.
Daltrey, although stumbling briefly in the middle of the set has the powerful lungs from his youth and proved it tonight by belting out the high notes. Daltrey was on fire during tonight’s performance of "Baba O’Reilly" and even added some nice harmonica playing turning the song into a hoedown jam.
Since the 1996 Quadrophenia tour, Ringo Starr’s son, Zak Starkey, has been the man behind the skins and has proven he is the next best thing to Keith Moon. In fact, Moon who was a friend of his fathers actually gave him his first drum lessons. Zak showcased his talents during the "Tommy" medley that included "Pinball Wizard", "Amazing Journey", "Sparks" and "See Me Feel Me".
The Who has always been about the raw testosterone of male youth and it’s amazing they are still able to sustain the energy today. Tonight’s set list was predictable at times but what did you expect? They played a few hits, a few new songs and they showed us how lucky we are that they didn’t die before they got old.