He may not have died before he got old, but The Who's Pete Townshend -- together with surviving bandmate Roger Daltrey -- still managed to make his generation proud last night.
Playing to a rabid crowd of 10,000, The Who (or the Two, as they're being called on this tour) ripped through a two-hour-plus set of golden oldies and experimental new stuff, all of it tempered with the same finely tuned pedigree that's earned the band its reputation as one of the best on record.
Abetted by a nimble backing band comprised of Pino Palladino on bass, John (Rabbit) Bundrick on keyboards, Ringo's son Zak Starkey on drums and Pete's brother Simon on guitar, Roger and Pete opened with an explosive version of their early hit I Can't Explain, flanked by a row of neon columns and overhead screens projecting images from their heyday.
Next up was The Seeker, which saw Daltrey proving his worth (even at the age of 62) as one of the most engaging frontmen in the history of rock, but was, unfortunately, followed by a technical glitch that brought about a temporary halt to the proceedings.
Luckily, the crowd's thirst (shame on anyone who booed, by the way) was quickly sated with a note-perfect spin through Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere, along with a round of strobe-light explosions that served to remind any non-believers of The Who's arena rock legacy.
Fragments, from the soon-to-be-released new album Endless Wire, sounded great but paled in comparison to Who Are You (that's the CSI theme, for anyone born after 1990), which saw Townshend, clad in basic black, breaking out his trademark windmill guitar moves and which earned the first of several thunderous rounds of applause from the crowd.
A bunch of psychedelic human irises filled the overhead screens for the slow-building Behind Blue Eyes and then footage of Elvis Presley himself for Real Good Looking Boy, another new one dedicated to the King of Rock 'n' Roll (the riffs from Can't Help Falling In Love were an especially nice touch).
A six-song suite from Wire & Glass, Townshend's latest mini-opera, was well received, though even we'll admit it got a bit draggy towards the end.
Cue the computerized opening to Baba O-Riley, still one of the most kick-ass rock songs ever written and one that suffered not a bit when the transcendent violin solo was replaced by Daltrey's funky turn on harmonica.
Eminence Front sounded a mite dated, but with You Better You Bet, Won't Get Fooled Again and My Generation (and, we'll assume, scheduled encore numbers like Pinball Wizard and See Me, Feel Me), Townshend and Daltrey proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that --even without the benefit of smashed instruments or the help of departed bassist John Entwistle and drummer-cum-madman Keith Moon -- they're still a musical force to be reckoned with and a duo whose legendary chemistry shows no signs of f-f-fading away.