HOLLYWOOD (Variety) - Wanna get fooled again? After presenting a House of Blues show a year ago that was a solid workmanlike run through John Entwistle's work with the Who and solo efforts, he curiously returns to essentially repeat that 90-minute set.
Granted there are some things rockers can't let go of: The volume was set at Who-like arena levels, the fashions are still unchanged from 20 years ago, and the skittering bass is emphasized as a reminder of some of the best rock 'n' roll records ever made. But this year's model has far fewer satisfying moments.
His return was tied to his success with the animated kids show "Van-pires," though that got little more than an early mention during his mumbled remarks. Show quickly touched on his songs from 1978's Who Are You, and hit solo obscurities that had all the textures of 1978 FM rock hits. Rather than singing his own songs, Entwistle handed over the vocals to the able-bodied Godfrey Townsend and Alan St. Jon, both of whom show an affinity for late-'70s arena rock singing. Sadly, this isn't as much fun as Boogie Nights.
Entwistle did actually shine on the encores when, joined by ex-Steely Dan guitarist Jeff (Skunk) Baxter, they dove into two covers the Who claimed as their own a dog's age ago: Summertime Blues and Shakin' All Over. Entwistle and company became a spirited bunch, producing a thunderous crack that slithered and hit its exact mark. Perhaps more delving into the music that inspired Entwistle and his bandmates would make for an invigorating show that doesn't make his fans feel like the new boss is the same as the old boss.
Presented inhouse. Band: Entwistle, Steve Luongo, Godfrey Townsend, Alan St. Jon.
Reviewed Feb. 11, 1998.
John Entwistle (House of Blues; 1,000 capacity; $17.25)