The Who Hits 50 review: Still wizards in Minneapolis tour stop
High on the bucket list of Stuck in the '80s has been seeing a concert by The Who, but as fate would have it, I keep missing opportunities to catch them live. However, our Minnesota correspondent Dr. Dim is a huge fan who refuses to let obstacles get in the way of him and a good time. Here's Dr. Dim's review of the The Who's show in Minneapolis.
On Sunday, May 1, at the Target Center in downtown Minneapolis, my wife and I and 10,000 plus Who fans would be treated to two hours of some of The Who's greatest hits. Roger Daltrey, lead singer, and Pete Townshend, songwriter and lead guitarist, took the stage joining the six other members of the now eight-member touring band. Townshend, sometimes taciturn when performing, actually skipped his way into the spotlight.
Kicking off with one of their late 70s hits ‘Who Are You' which was followed by ‘The Seeker', had this Who fan swallowing back quite a sizable lump in my throat. "This is it," I thought to myself, "I'm never seeing these guys in concert again." After all, Daltrey had called this tour the "long goodbye."
I pulled myself together and witnessed these living legends rock the house with such classics as ‘My Generation', ‘The Kids Are Alright', ‘Behind Blue Eyes', ‘Bargain', and ‘Eminence Front' (their lone 80s song of the night).
There was a chunk from their pioneering rock opera Tommy (1969): ‘Amazing Journey', ‘Sparks', ‘Pinball Wizard', and ‘See Me, Feel Me'. That was preceded by a chunk from their 1973 masterpiece Quadrophenia: ‘I'm One' (to which I damn near lost it), ‘The Rock' (this instrumental track was the highlight of the night), and ‘Love Reign O'er Me'.
There were also a few songs the boys don't normally play in concert: ‘I Can See for Miles', ‘Pictures of Lily', and the excellent ‘Join Together'. I had forgotten how great that song is! And many of the songs that night were introduced by either Daltrey or Townshend with explanations on their meaning or how they were written.
Also throughout the show were projected images on the big screen behind the band. For most of the first half of the show the images were of The Who in their early days. Images of Keith Moon's lunacy and John Entwistle's rock steadiness paid tribute to those absent original members.
While Daltrey's voice may have lost some of his former range, I thought it was better than when I saw the band in 2002. However, from what I've read in other reviews, it is Daltrey's voice that has garnered the negative criticism. Well, you try pushing your voice to its limits for the better part of 50 years, and let's see how well it holds up. I thought he sounded pretty good.
Townshend was a monster! He played with the same ferocity he had when he was half his nearly 71 years of age. The leaps and stage slides may have long gone by the wayside, but his playing was at its windmilling best!
They capped off the night with their two biggest anthems, both from their most commercially successful album Who's Next (1971): ‘Baba O'Riley' and ‘Won't Get Fooled Again'. Incidentally, Daltrey nailed that scream at the end of ‘Won't Get Fooled Again', proving he could still do it. Take that, critics!
However, by the end, the old fellas were drained, but seemed to have really enjoyed themselves performing for us. The crowd, also feeling drained, graciously accepted the band's thank you's and goodbye's. No encore. The lights went up and we made our way home.
I cannot overstate what this band means to me. I'm so glad I have been able to see them one last time.
My only complaint is that they didn't play longer.
"Rock is dead they say, LONG LIVE ROCK!" ~ Pete Townshend
- Jim ‘Dr. Dim' Fitzsimons
(AP file photo)