Saturday, October 7, 2006

The Who w/ moe. @ United Center

Going in, we didn’t know who the opener was, but were thoroughly bored half-way through their first song. Eventually, the mentioned their name and I was at least pleased with myself in that moe. sounded exactly as crappy as I expected them to. The two “highlights” for me were (a) one song that was a blatant ripoff of a more obscure Jimi Hendrix song and (b) when they played a song with a chorus that went “OK, all right, OK, all right.” That pretty much summed up what they were shooting for.

The Who were infinitely more inspiring. We were sitting about sixty yards back, but on the floor – with an excellent view of the stage. They came out with little fanfare, playing “Can’t Explain.” After that, was “The Seeker”. At this point, the crowd was really mellow – partly due to the sleepy opener, partly due to the fact that most of them were in their 50s. Finally, the band launched into “Who Are You” and the crowd brought some energy. The band fed off that energy and showed more themselves. They kind of strike me as the most successful garage band of all time. There was nothing fancy about the show – yeah, they had screens and stuff, but it was basically just a band playing. They rawked pretty hard when needed. On drums, we had Zach Starkey. Yes, that Starkey. Pete Townshend’s brother was playing backup guitar, too. Townshend impressed me, even though he came across as a bit pompous. However, Roger Daltry’s persona is very endearing and personable. That’s damn near impossible to do at the United Center, so I was impressed with him as well. Instead of playing all their new songs, they did a six-song medley from their new album – each track ended up being about two minutes long. Clearly the crowd is there to hear the hits, but this didn’t bore them too much because each song was so brief. Great idea.

The musical highpoint of the show was Eminence Front. I’ve always liked that tune and for years did not know who recorded it. Towards the end of the main set, Daltry started coughing and punching his chest. Apparently, he had an allergic reaction to someone or something in the front row. He left the stage and the band played My Generation with Townshend on vocals instead. This was probably the emotional high point of the show, and was a pleasure to watch. The fans were more into this one than any other. They took a break and came back with Won’t Get Fooled Again. In my opinion, the pinnacle of the Who’s career is Daltry’s scream of “YEEEeeaaaaahhh!” towards the end of that song. I was worried he wouldn’t be able to hit it after the coughing bit, and while he didn’t nail it perfectly, it had every bit of wail you could ask for and made me feel like I got my money’s worth.

All in all, good show. I wouldn’t spend that much to see them again, but at least I can say I saw them and they were good. A better crowd would have made a huge difference, but what can one expect at the UC?

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