Monday, October 09, 2006
An ocean of denim, bobbing heads and stomping feet, opened up, emitting a chanting rumble.
"Who, who, who, who, who, who ...."
Wild applause. Screaming. More who-ing sounds.
And then the guitar ripped.
Boomers, children, teenagers, seniors and hipsters shook their heads, yelped and applauded, as iconic rock legends, The Who, shook up GM Place Sunday night.
"It's great to be here," said legendary guitarist and songwriter Pete Townshend, sending the audience into convulsions. "We had a great time. This is such a fantastic part of the world."
Clad in black pants and a button-up shirt, his bald head shining, Townshend's acrobatic fingers poured through riffs, effortlessly causing chests to pound and shake up the air.
Lead singer Roger Daltrey immediately got the crowd swooning with the 1965 hit I Can't Explain, while nostalgic photos of the entire band -- including late members Keith Moon and John Entwistle -- flashed on the giant overhead screen.
And then Daltrey got swinging.
The microphone, wild and free, looped around and around and around -- a signature move layered in rock 'n' roll history -- mesmerizing the frenzied audience, who called out for more.
And yes, Townshend got onboard, attacking his strings with his straight-armed, guitar windmill.
As 18-year-old Who fan, Kate Martin, summed up: "It was awesome."
And the crowd went bonkers again and again.
Oldies like Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere, performed with no hint of fatigue, and the psychedelic favourite, Behind Blue Eyes, stirred raging responses from concert-goers, hungry for sing-along tunes.
The only lapse in energy -- or appreciation -- came when the band showed off some of their new material, reminding fans their new album is out at the end of the month. For example, the earth-friendly environmental tune, Fragments, fell a little flat. So did the song, Real Good Boy, a tribute to the King.
"This is a great song. It's about us. We all wanted to be Elvis," said Daltrey, in his preamble.
But those were mild dips in an otherwise exalted night of memorable tunes, performed by some seriously talented musicians.
"We want to know who you are," said Townshend, his British accent thick and gritty.
"Who are you?"
On-screen an image of a train zoomed over the tracks. The air, a combination of popcorn, weed and ketchup, smelled retro.
Daltrey jumped and swung around, looking spry in his blue T-shirt and jeans, and belting out the notes.
Like a big karaoke room, fans sang along to the chorus, full and loud.
It was just that kind of rah-rah-rah night.