When the three remaining members of the legendary British rock band The Who decided to go on tour this summer to celebrate 25 years of musical history and a body of work that lends itself naturally to the concert stage, they made no attempt to disguise the fact that age, physical limitations and personnel changes have forced some alterations in the live show.
Nevertheless, in the first 90 minutes of Friday night's concert at Busch Stadium, it wasn't what was missing, as much as what replaced it that formed the foundation of the show.
As they launched into the overture to the rock opera »Tommy« to begin the show, it was obvious the five-piece horn section added for this tour would be invaluable, flushing out the arrangement and providing slick transitions between the songs in the 35-minute medley.
Roger Daltrey showed courage in the face of difficult material as he gave an impassioned vocal performance on »See Me, Feel Me.«
When Pete Townshend picked up his guitar to play, it wasn't just like yesterday. But then, no one really expected it to be.
Instead, Townshend found wonderfully creative ways to demonstrate his prowess on acoustic guitar while sideman Steve Bolton handled most of the electric guitar chores.
However, the concert wasn't an hour old before Townshend was striking his familiar pose, ready to take a swipe at the strings in trademark windmill fashion and wringing feedback and distortion from his instrument.
The first half of the show also included a short set of Townshend's and bassist John Entwistle's solo efforts. But it was a cover tune that provided the first set's most memorable moment.
Freed from following the standard Who formula inherent in other songs from the early days, such as »I Can't Explain,« - Bo Diddley's »I'm A Man,« showcased the band's deep traditions in the blues and proved, more than anything, that the more things change, the more they remain the same.