Forty years after the album’s release, the Who have hit the road with Quadrophenia, a tale of Jimmy the Mod’s identity crisis, as told by rockers of stadiums.
From ambient opener “I Am the Sea” and on through the album in its entirety, Townshend, Daltrey, & Co. rarely paused for a breath. “The (real intro!) Real Me,” with powerful brass, was overwhelming in its grace and bombast.
Townshend’s trademark slashing, windmill arm, and Daltrey, spinning the mic like a lasso, both appeared timeless. Zak (son of Ringo) Starkey had been sidelined at the eleventh hour and a guest drummer filled the spot admirably.
The late, great Keith Moon and John Entwistle made guest appearances via tape of Moon’s “Bell Boy” vocal and Entwistle’s live “5.15” bass solo, tugging on the heartstrings of all.
A stage film backdrop screened a collage of cultural references and icons of the past 50 years, including Lennon, Elvis, WW2, Churchill, the two Bushes, and a 911. And then an encore of promised classics concluded (surprisingly) not with “My Generation” but with “Tea & Theatre” from Endless Wire. Neither song nor record a classic.
As Townshend rightly says, “The Who are a brand, not a band anymore,” and there was, in parts, a feeling of Vegas cabaret about it all. But, in an era when pop music is more soap opera than rock opera and songs are sold by no-hopers, Townshend’s high numbers prove more worthy than ever.
Thanks to Daniel Knighton of Pixel Perfect Images for the photos.
- Concert: The Who play Quadrophenia
- Date: February 5
- Venue: Valley View Casino Center
- Seats: Left of center