October 24, 2020

1994-02-26 – The Los Angeles Times

1994 02 26 The_Los_Angeles_Times_Sat__Feb_26__1994_




?‘Daltrey Celeb rates Townshend— Sort Of

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EW YORK—If the Jackson

Family fiasco in Las Vegas

was muddled by irrelevant
guests and an inability to stay
focused on who was being honored.
it was clear from the outset of
“Daltrey Sings Townshend"
Wednesday night that the vocalist
was there strictly for his own

Faced with Pete Townshend’s
.refusal to reunite The Who and
vDaltrey’s exclusion from the re-
birth of “Tommy,” the vigorous
‘and trim singer used the occasion
of his 50th birthday to mount his

{gm post- -rock interpretation of

ownshend’s work, complete with

.- fa full-fledged Juilliard orchestra

and ace electric musicians, in a

3 classy upscale setting, Carnegie

7 Hall

‘2 (The concert will be available

:for TV viewers tonight who are

willing to pay $24. 95 or there-
abouts. Call you local cable system
for details. )

Despite the pretext of paying
homage to the songwriter respon-
sible for his rock’ n' roll career (a
debt he openly acknowledged),
Daltrey didn’t press the point,
leaving Townshend's name out of it
until late in the three- hour show,
when he finally brought the hon-
oree onstage. With 28 Townshend
tunes providing the evening’s mu-
sic, it was impossible to discern the
line between celebration and ex-

Early on, Daltrey' 3 choice of
material for himself (roughly half
the set) included two surprises,
delicate songs that actually bene-
fited from the vast instrumental
array: “Imagine a Man” (from
“Who by Numbers") was lovely
and enriched by the texture of
strings. while the gentle “Song Is
Over" (from “Who's Next") used
brass to punch up the song' 8 stir-

ring b1 1dge Also before intermis-

sion, Alice Cooper had brash fun
with “I’m a Boy" and Lou Reed
contributed a languorous jazz read-
ing of “Now and Then” from
'lll‘ownshend’s recent “PsychoDere-

Otherwise, the first segment was
awful: an obnoxious Townshend-
lite orchestral overture, Daltrey’s
slow lounge-jazz version of “I Can
See for Miles," an over-arranged
“You Better You Bet” that re-
vealed the hoarseness of his upper
register and “Love, Reign O’er Me"
reconfigured as a drippy French
film score.

The hapless renditions of “I

Can’t Explain" and “Substitute” by ‘

the Spin Doctors were an embar-
But the show's second half got


stripped-down but letter-perfect
renditions of “The Kids Are Al-
right," “Sheraton Gibson" (with
excellent finger picking) and “My
Generation," done in late-‘70s Who
style, first as a slow blues and then
a strong rocker. If any real tribute
was going to be paid Wednesday,
Vedder wrote the biggest check.

Undaunted by the moronic boos
that greeted her. Sinéad O’Connor
joined Daitrey and the Chieftains
(with whom Daltrey has previous-
ly appeared) for a Gaelic variation
on “Baba O'Riley,” blending her
precise and declamatory delivery 1
with his slurry rock roar. .

Given Townshend’s recent rec-
lamation of his rock opera, Daltrey
was unwise to delve deeply into

N O M l N AT | O N 5

off to a riveting, inspiring start , :1:

with Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam.
Appearing alone onstage with just
an electric guitar, he brought obvi-
ous familiarity and care to


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