October 30, 2020

1976-03-30 – The Los Angeles Times

1976 03 30 The_Los_Angeles_Times_Tue__Mar_30__1976_

ROBERT HILBURN

A Fine Hurrah From the Who

SAN FRANCISCO—After its cold, mechanical 1973
concert at the Inglewood Forum and rather unconvincing
new "The Who by Numbers" album, it seemed nearly
time to finally put the Who into rock's inactive file. After
all. 12 years is a long time for any rock 'n' roll band. Even
if—as in this case—it is one
of rock's all-time greatest. ,

But the Who played with
enough credibility March 21
at the largely impersonal
55.000-seat Anaheim Stadi-
um to make another look
seem worthwhile. Besides.
the band's next California -
stop was at the 5.000-seat : .
Winterland hall in San
Francisco. If the group was .,.,.
to ever regain its original
fire and purpose, it would
probably be in an intimme
setting like Winterland. '

Sure enough, the band re-
sponded to Winterland's in~
timacy Saturday night. Be-

cause the Who is expected to return to California this
summer. the Winterland show probably wasn't the band's
last hurrah locally. but it was probably one of its finest
hurrahs.

If the conditions imposed on the band by the vast, out-
door Anaheim Stadium setting pretty much limited the
band to simply sharing its legacy with the audience. the
intimacy of Winterland allowed the band once more to as.
sert its vitality.

Though the Who used basically the same material of
the Anaheim concert. its set Saturday bristled with the
kind of tension. grandeur and celebration that audiences
once associated with the band.

Part of the reason for the concert’s success at Winter-
land. no doubt. was the energy and enthusiasm supplied
by the audience. Sensing the two Winterland shows
(there was also one Sunday night) might be the last time
the band would appear in this country in such an intimate
setting. there were more than 80.000 orders for the 10.000
available tickets. Because seating was nonmerved. hun-

dreds of fans camped outside the hall overnight Friday to
get the best locations for Saturday's concert.

More Bite and Conviction

As soon as the group arrived on stage. the audience‘s
energy was unleashed in a long. emotional tribute of ap-
plause and cheers. Keith Moon. the band’s colorful drum-
mer. raced on stage with the same kind of somersault that
he had done the week before at Anaheim. But it was soon
obvious that this was not to be the same show.

By the time Roger Daltrey had finished the opening "I
Can’t Explain." it was evident he was singing with more
bite and conviction than on any recent appearance in
years. It was enough. even. to make one temporarily for-
give Daltrey his dreary solo album and the hapless "1an

ztomania" experience. .
The intensity Saturday was so strong at one pomt that

Daltrey—t‘rustrated by a malfunctioning microphone—

Pete Townshend

buried the microphone across the stage at full force. bare-
ly missing (or. possibly. hitting) a member of the stage
crew. Then. he picked up the microphone stand and
threw it across the other side of the stage.

But the most encouraging and uplifting factor in the
Who's performance was the vigorous playing and spirited
manner of Pete Townshend. the creative heart of the band.

In the 1973 tour. Townshend—noted for such visual
trademarks as sudden. high leaps into the air and smash-
ing of gultars—seemed simply to be going through a se-
ries of alloto-familiar motions. His leaps appeared too cal-
culated and his playing too remote. After the tour. he ad-
mitted he was worried about the band becoming a parody
of itself. He didn't know how long the group would be
able to continue. he said flatly.

But Saturday Townshend was once again a captivating
figure on stage. The composer of "Tommy" and most of
the Who's other important works punctuated his aggres-
sive. yet tailored guitar playing with leaps that carried
him so high he often had to struggle to regain his balance
when he landed. In' the past. Townshend had begun to
land a bit too neatly to be convincing. Now. he was doin
thrheeis. gour or five jumps in a row. And. there was a smile
on ace.

Audience Energy Builds

Responding to the band's obvious enthusiasm, the ener-
gy level of the audience continued to build during the
show until it reached a peak during some of the in-
strumental passages of 'Tommy." When the concert end-
ed, the audience cheered for nearly 15 minutes. But the
band. exhausted. didn't return for an encore.

The main reason. reportedly. the Who played Winter.
land rather than one of the larger Bay Area arenas was to
make up for drummer Keith Moon's collapse on stage dur-
ing the group's last local appearance in 1973 at the Cow
Palace. But. it turned out, the band did itself a favor. too.
by playing the mailer hall.

The lesson of Saturday’s show was clear. Because fans
will follow their favorite rock bands to virtually any size
venue. groups can make the most money by finding the
largest arenas or stadiums possible. They can also justify
such moves on the grounds that the larger facilities allow
all the group's fans to see the band live.

But occasional visits to halls like Wlnterland—or the
Santa Monica Civic—help put the bands themselves back
in touch with the urgency and inspiration that first gave
purpose to their music. The Who, in short. could have
walked away with more dollars by playing the Cow Pal-
ace again last weekend. but they came away with some-
thing even more precious from Winterland.

Tickets for Wings Concert

to Be Honored On New Dates

A spokeswoman for the Inglewood Forum has an-
nounced that tickets for the postponed Paul McCartney
and Wings concerts will be honored on the new dates
that will be announced in a day or two. The Forum con-

certs had been scheduled for April 19 and 20.

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