No one can ever question Roger Daltrey’s enthusiasm. His legendary pipes, along with Pete Townshend’s brilliant songwriting, catapulted The Who to the upper echelon of rock a long time ago.
Daltrey continues to revel in the British band’s larger than life music, while Townshend always appears reluctant to revisit his well-regarded past.
It was evident early during The Who’s performance Saturday at the sold-out Wells Fargo Center, that Daltrey was as enthusiastic as a 68-year old man can be belting out epic rock songs.
Townshend, 67, who admitted his fondness for ‘Quadrophenia’ during his book signing at the University of Pennsylvania in October, played with some verve, while delivering windmills and terse rhythmic guitar lines.
It’s been 40 years since ‘Quadrophenia’ shook the rock world. The dynamic rock opera deserved to be celebrated and fortunately the two surviving members of The Who did not just deliver a perfunctory performance.
Daltrey sings and moves about the stage like a man 20-years his junior. Sure, Daltrey, who still can render a mean microphone twirl, can’t hit the high notes of his youth but who would expect that. He and Townshend get by delivering as vigorous a performance as you could expect.
The songs will stand up long after Daltrey and Townshend join deceased bandmates bassist John Entwistle and drummer Keith Moon.
The Who doesn’t look or sound quite like it did during its hey day more than generation ago but they still have fun with the songs, if not with each other. There was little interaction between Daltrey and Townshend but fortunately they accept that they are tethered together for life courtesy of the stirring, meaningful songs, which created part of the act’s legend.
These days, Townshend and Daltrey are assisted by drummer Zak Starkey and bassist Pino Palladino and it works as well as any senior-citizen rock act on the circuit.
When Daltrey sings ‘Why Should I Care?’ The answer is evident. The Who’s music remains urgent and inspiring. Who knows how many more times Daltrey can cajol Townshend into committing to such a tour?