By Chyrisse Tabone, Rock At Night Tampa
Venue: Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater, Florida–October 30, 2017
Roger Daltrey performed at my favorite venue, Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater, on Monday, October 30th—and I have to say I was more than giddy to be there! Who’s Next is in my top five favorite albums of all time.
The Who just finished a South America tour with Guns & Roses and now Pete Townshend is on sabbatical. Roger Daltrey is doing a short tour called A Quick Run (While Pete’s Away) with shows in Florida and Niagara Falls, Ontario. Pete’s younger brother Simon Townshend is taking over the rein for the tour and is joined by bandmates Frank Simes (guitar), Jon Button (bass), Loren Gold (keys) and Scott Devours (drums).
Roger Daltrey came out to chat with the crowd and held up papers of The Who’s lyrics. Since this was the first gig of the tour, there were a couple of technical difficulties and Daltrey dropped all the papers on the floor during the concert—by accident or comedic effect, I don’t know. The concert began with “Overture”, which is essentially an instrumental medley of the songs from “Tommy”. Daltrey banged the tambourine and then sang as the song melded into “It’s a Boy” and followed with “Pinball Wizard” which got the crowd chair-dancing and singing along.
Daltrey then played “I Can See for Miles” and the gorgeous “Behind Blue Eyes.” Immediately the Baby Boomer crowd was transformed back to the late-1960s and early-1970s when most were teenagers, Keith Moon was smashing up hotel rooms, and John Entwistle was strumming the mighty bass playing “My Wife”. It is actually hard to believe that Daltrey is 73 years old. He really looks great with a full head of hair—closer cropped, and not angelic like the Tommy poster I had hanging on my bedroom wall.
Daltrey paused to talk to the crowd between songs. He mentioned the band was going to sing a song they haven’t performed “live” since 1982 and to everybody’s delight he sang “Athena”. I couldn’t help but sing in unison with a guy who was sitting next to me. He must have been a diehard fan, I believe, because he sang to every song during the evening. She’s a girl…she’s a bomb…
Next, the band played “Who Are You?” and the crowd went wild! Everybody was singing and grooving to the song with arms raised and hands pointing toward the stage. The band received a standing ovation for this song– actually several throughout the evening– as we all felt we were seeing The Who songs come to life and flashbacking to memories of concerts years past. I could see myself putting the needle on the vinyl record album and dancing around the living room.
Daltrey said the next song was about waiting during the work week for Friday night . He said, “This is one of my own songs” and he joked about “being on the road for 55 years” and how “we can’t hear anything—which is kind of useful.” He then sang, “Days of Light” which had almost a 50s rock sound. He then introduced Pete’s brother Simon saying “he is every bit as good as his brother” who totally nailed it (he sounds exactly like Pete) as he sang “Going Mobile” which is from the Who’s Next album. People were singing along and filling in the lyrical gaps as Townshend paused. Daltrey jumped in and played the harp. Again, people rose to their feet, whistled, and cheered for yet another fantastic performance.
Daltrey talked about the early days of the band when real friends were hard to find. The band was having trouble with management at the time. He said the song was about, “real friends—who are there when the shit hits the fan.” His voice kind of strained to hit the notes on this song but man, what a song. He asks….How many friends have I really got….who love me, who want me, and take me as I am.
I especially liked “Getting in Tune” and sang the lyrics, raising my fist in joy. Daltrey regained his voice and did a beautiful job. The song almost brought tears of joy to my eyes as I time-traveled back to sitting at the kitchen table doing my homework, while listening to this. I was such a Who fan that I remember writing a book report in 8th grade on a biography of The Who.
Daltrey then talked about being friends with Leo Sayer who wrote a bunch of songs for him to sing when “Pete wasn’t around.” He laughed saying “Leo wrote the album in a whole week”. He sang “Giving It All Away” and then played the gorgeous and touching “Without Your Love”. Townshend traded his guitar for a mandolin. Truly a touching song! I started thinking, “This would be the perfect wedding song.”
Among the wonderful songs that were played during the evening, probably the biggest crowd pleaser was “Baba O’Reilly”. There were plenty of lights, lasers, and Daltrey doing his customary “mic twirling” (which I had been waiting for all evening).
As the evening wound down Daltrey introduced the band members and discussed “Teen Cancer America” which he has worked with for the last seven years. He said, “this means a lot to me” and “teens with cancer are often stuck in hospitals with old farts like me”. He said he was proud of Tampa Bay because Moffitt is a participant in the program. Daltrey explained about the teens, “We need to give this age group back their life” and noted that the giving in the charity bucket “goes to the front line”.
The band walked off stage and the crowd clapped and cheered for the encore—but the lights came on. As some may have been disappointed the show ended, Daltrey and the band gave us a great two hours of music from The Who and for a fleeting second I felt like I was 14 again.
- Overture (The Who song)
- It’s a Boy (The Who song)
- Pinball Wizard (The Who song)
- I Can See for Miles (The Who song)
- Behind Blue Eyes (The Who song)
- Another Tricky Day (The Who song)
- Athena (The Who song) (First time since 1982)
- Who Are You (The Who song)
- Days of Light
- Going Mobile (The Who song) (Simon Townshend on vocals)
- How Many Friends (The Who song)
- It’s Not Enough (The Who song)
- Getting in Tune (The Who song)
- Giving It All Away (Leo Sayer cover)
- Without Your Love
- Summertime Blues (Eddie Cochran cover)
- Baba O’Riley (The Who song)
- Young Man Blues (Mose Allison cover)
- Heading Home (New song; previously unreleased)
Clearwater, Florida-October 30, 2017
A new song from Roger Daltrey’s upcoming album
Simon Townshend singing “Going Mobile”
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