UNCASVILLE, Conn. - It takes a strong man to follow Chrissie Hynde and The Pretenders.
Fortunately, The Who has two such men.
Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey and company mixed classic hits with tracks from their first studio album in 24 years before a capacity crowd on Friday at the Mohegan Sun Arena.
But before the veteran British rockers took the stage, The Pretenders tore through a red-hot 50-minute set.
Hynde, decked out in jeans, knee-high boots and a top hat, was in peak form with such Pretender staples as "Back on the Chain Gang," "My City Was Gone" and "I'll Stand By You."
Reminding the crowd that The Pretenders were merely the opening act, Hynde called it a night with a blistering "Precious."
Taking the stage minutes later, The Who reached back 41 years and opened with their first hit, "I Can't Explain," as youthful images of Townshend, Daltrey and their two late bandmates, Keith Moon and John Entwistle, flashed on giant screens behind the band.
Two other mid-1960s "faves" followed, "The Seeker" and "Anyway, Anywhere, Anyhow," before Townshend and Daltrey offered up the well-received "Fragments," the first track from their new disc, "Endless Wire."
Throughout the night, the two men performed with an energy that belied their years, though microphone gremlins haunted Daltrey.
Daltrey later joked that although he wildly twirled and tossed corded microphones in his youth, it never caused him the trouble he was experiencing now, blaming the technical problems on equipment made in China.
The Who dipped into their catalog for "Who Are You," "Behind Blue Eyes" and the Elvis Presley tribute "Real Good Looking Boy" before providing a sampler from "Wire & Glass," the mini-opera that makes up much of their new album.
Apparently wary of how audiences will receive new material, Townshend made it a point of telling the crowd that The Who were going to play six new songs - a warning that sent casual fans out for beer before the first note sounded.
During the two-hour concert, Townshend and Daltrey mixed new songs ("A Man in a Purple Dress," "Mike Post Theme") with standards ("Baba O'Riley," "My Generation")
With pounding backbeat from drummer Zak Starkey, The Who closed their set with a rousing "Won't Get Fooled Again."
The encores included a five-song sampling of their landmark rock opera "Tommy," highlighted by Townshend's fiery guitar work on "Sparks."
The night came to a quiet close with the moving "Tea & Theatre" from "Endless Wire."