October 22, 2020

2016-03-28 – St Louis Post Dispatch

2016 03 28 St__Louis_Post_Dispatch_Mon__Mar_28__2016_

03.28.2016 - MONDAY - M 1

ENTERTAINMENT

ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH - A13

The Who was worth the wait at Scottrade

Concert review .
Townshend, despite the
flu, played his guitar just
like yesterday.

BY DANIEL DllRCI-IHOLZ
Special to the Post—Dispatch

ST. Louls - Surviving members Pete
Townshend and Roger Daltrey could not
have imagined how hard 50 would hit back
when their iconic rock band hit the road
on its “The Who Hits 50!” tour two years
ago.

The celebration of a half century of stu-
dio work and concert performances has
been plagued with postponements due to
ill health — mostly Daltrey’s — including
his being felled by swollen vocal cords and,
much more seriously, viral meningitis.

Two 2015 St. Louis dates — May 7 and
December 6 — were scheduled, only to be
scuttled.

But When the pair, backed by a sextet of
support musicians, hit the Scottrade Cen-
ter stage at long last Saturday night, it was
Townshend Who had taken ill with the flu.

The illness was most evident in a sing-
ing voice which, the musician jokingly
acknowledged, mimicked that of “Kermit
the Frog.”

Townshend nonetheless soldiered on,
giving a bravado performance on guitar,
featuring numerous displays of his signa-
ture windmill move— one of rock’s most
perfect and powerful gestures.

It was Daltrey who truly astonished,
though, singing with an abandon that be-
lied not only his health struggles, but his

72 years on the planet.

A long note held during the set- opening
“Who Are You” indicated that the singer
might have a little extra to give, a no-
tion that was confirmed time and again
throughout the concert.

“Who Are You” also served as a tribute
to the two Who members who have passed
away. Photos of drummer Keith Moon and
bassist Iohn Entwistle were shown re-
peatedly on the video screens as the song
played out.

From there, the band (with Zak Starkey,
son of Ringo Starr on the drums) bounced
back and forth through its extensive cata-
log, calling up early hits including “The

PHOTO BV JON GITCHOFF
The Who’s Roger Daltrey (left) and Pete Townshend belt out a song Saturday at Scottrade.

Kids Are Alright,” “My Generation,” and
“Pictures of Lily.”

Daltrey noted that the group at the out-
set was focused primarily on the release of
hit 45 rpm singles.

“We were a boy band,” he quipped. “A
very ugly boy band” — a reputation dis-
pelled by the releases of “Tommy,” “Who’s
Next” and “Quadrophenia.”

The group tore through mid-period
classics such as “Behind Blue Eyes, “Bar-
gain” and “loin Together,” the latter song
becoming a sing-along that so satisfied
Daltrey that he applauded the audience.

“Yourselves! ” he cried.

The show’s high-water mark, though,

was the one-two punch of “Love, Reign
O’er Me,” the dramatic ballad from “Qua-
drophenia,” and “Eminence Front," a

stretched-out guitar showcase for Town-
shend.

On the former, Daltrey loosed a high,
wrenching scream that by all rights should
no longer be in the arsenal of a 72-year-
old.

Incredibly, it is.

“Now you gotta hear me croak again,”
Townshend lamented before “Eminence.”
But he mostly let his guitar do the talking.

As the set roared to its conclusion, the
band spotlighted songs from its “Tommy”
rock opera, including “Pinball Wizard”
and “See Me, Feel Me,” and “Who’s Next”
classics “Baba O’Riley” and “Won’t Get
Fooled Again.”

Earlier, Townshend thanked the band’s
fans for hanging on to their tickets
through the multiple date changes. The
many empty seats in the upper reaches of
the arena however indicated that many
ticket-holders chose not to stick with the
band through sickness and health.

A few audience members may have
bailed due to the switch in opening acts.
Freshly minted Rock and Roll Hall of Farn-
ers Ioan Iett & the Blackhearts dropped off
the bill, in favor of little-known Australian
bassist and bandleader Tal Wilkenfeld.

A noted side musician for artists such
as Ieff Beck, Chick Corea and Herbie Han-
cock, Wilkenfeld is testing the waters as a
solo act. Her set featured sounds ranging
from fusion jazz to hard rock to her ethe-
real new single, “Corner Painter.”

Though some subtleties of her dexter-
ous bass playing were swallowed up by the
arena setting, Wilkenfeld demonstrated
she is an artist with promise.