October 26, 2020

1980-04-29 – St Louis Post Dispatch

1980 04 29 St__Louis_Post_Dispatch_Tue__Apr_29__1980_

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Whom Did Checkerdome F ans Love? The Who

By Dick Richmond
0! the Poat-Diapatch Statt

As concerts go, The Who's appear-
ance at the Checkerdome on Monday
night was a major event. The
enthusiasm of the 18.000-plus fans had
the same electricity as when Lou Brock
was on his way to becoming baseball's
best base thief. Instead of Lou. Lou.
Lou. the cries were Who, Who. Who.

The Who. that‘s who. starring Peter
Townshend on electric guitar. John
Entwistle on bass. Roger Daltery on
lead vocals and newcomer Kenny J ones
on drums. Jones replaced the late Keith

Much of the electricity was supplied
by Daltery. who was like a perpetual-
motion machine, marching in place,
running in place. dancing and
performing microphone acrobatics.
How he is able to run as he does and
sing at the same time is amazing. He
looks to be in fantastic shape. Even so.
running for five minutes straight and
singing without ever losing the strength
of voice is enough to make a flabby
man gasp.

Entwistle, like most bassnsts. doesn't
move much. But Townshend. the
composing genius of the band. is no


slouch in the leaps-and-bounds
department. Still, it was not his high-
flying riffs that turned the crowd on; it
was his windup delivery on guitar. He
was sometimes like a roundhouse
puncher, who miraculously always
managed to get in his licks.

There were no calm moments in this
two-hour, non-stop, high-energy
performance. The concert opened with
”Substitute," one of the songs that has
marked the group's continuing
popularity. it was filled with the zest
that dominated the entire show.

The pace changed from tune to tune;
the volume, however, never did. It was
at a constant — really loud. Not that
anyone seemed to care. In the pauses
between the numbers. the roar of the
fans seemed louder than that of The
Who‘s music.

Even before the band moved into
“Sister Disco" from the “Who Are
You" album. it was apparent that there
were to be a few visual effects. On this
song was one of the more spectacular
as three round banks of rotating

spotlights filled the stage with a sense
of the spectacular. The largest of the
three had the spots angled in such a
way that the dozens of lights sent
dizzying beams through a morning
mist. The mist was provided by the
thousands of smokers in the audience.

The lead vocals changed hands on
occasion. Entwistle was in charge on
one occasion; Townshend on several.
No matter who was singing, however,
Daltery was there somewhere.
occasionally on harmonica. which he
plays very well. That was the situation
when Townshend played a blues
number called “Drown."

Daltery was back in the main
spotlight with “Who Are You.” the title
track from their 1978 album, with
Entwistle and Townshend singing the
“'"oo-oos on backup. It was on this song
that Daltery convinced me he could
have been a long-distance runner.

, They performed “My Generation," a
song that was recorded in 1965 and put
The Who on its way to becoming a
supergroup. Then they moved into
songs from “Quadrophenia” and
“Tommy." the album that made them
stars in the United States ll years ago.

The crowd was excited throughout.
Still. things stayed in control until

Daltery began to sing “See Me, Feel

Me" from “Tommy." Then for some
inexplicable reason, the flood tow rd
the stage erupted. it was almost as i it
were a signal. Nothing happened, but
during the rest of the concert the floor
crowd and part of those in the paquet
section stood. The Who would have
received a standing ovation regardless.
This assured it.

J ust before the last pre-enc0re
number. the stage was darkened for a
few moments — long enough to allow a
person's eyes to become accustomed to
the dark. When The Who was certain
that everyone’s eyes had dilated; a
huge flash erupted. it lifted me out of
my seat and made me grateful l hadn’t
had anything to drink.

The opening act tor the concert was
a heavy-rock quartet called the
Pretenders, featuring Chrissie Hynde
on guitar and lead vocals. Pete Farndon
on bass, James Honeyman Scott on
guitar and Martin Chambers on drums.
Miss Hynde has a very unusual voice,
almost masculine. It was put to good
use when she used it as an instrument.
Because the volume of the instruments
was so loud. it was difficult to disCem
much about her vocal ability; it wasn't
possible to tell one word from another.