By Chyrisse Tabone, Rock At Night Tampa
Venue: Amalie Arena, Tampa, Florida-September 22, 2019-THE WHO’s Moving On! Tour with Reignwolf
The Who’s Moving On! Tour rolled into the Amalie Arena, Tampa, Florida on September 22nd to a sold-out crowd of about 12,000, mostly Baby Boomer fans! The Who is one of the few Woodstock alumni, still touring these days. Comprised of core members Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend, they are carrying the torch for former bassist “The Ox” John Entwistle and notoriously wild drummer Keith Moon. The Who is gaining assistance on the tour from a musical royal lineage—Pete’s brother, Simon Townshend (guitar) and Ringo’s son, Zak Starkey (drums) as well as seasoned musicians Loren Gold (keys) and Jon Button (bass).
The evening began with a blues-rock group, hailing from Canada, Reignwolf. The powerful threesome put on an energy-packed, six song set, aided by much white smoke and red lights. Lead singer Jordan Cook pranced and belted out songs like “Red and Black” and “Are You Satisfied” with much angst and emotion. A great set to watch!
Finally, The Who stepped on stage, flanked by a 48-piece orchestra comprised of mostly local musicians, which added a full, symphonic quality to “Overture”, “Sparks”, and “Amazing Journey” and breathing life into other songs from Tommy. The experience felt as if one was listening to a well-mixed, engineered album—yet it was a live performance. “Pinball Wizard” was performed in its full glory as well as “Eminence Front”, a song which really exemplified the decadent, yuppie-filled 80s. The audience even got to sample a new song, “Hero Ground Zero”, a single from an upcoming album.
Pete Townshend paid his respects to the orchestra, before the band played solo, saying, “It is a tough job they do. Fantastic musicians.” Daltrey chimed in, “They are proper musicians and need a proper break”, after the musicians were already off the stage. Townshend responded, “You have the same fuckin’ problem—brains are gone!”
Townshend mentioned the band would play a song from about 1965/1966, saying, “I always felt like a substitute singer”, and continued his cheeky, often salty discord, “I was an asshole.” He continued with his “best line”, saying “I was born with a plastic spoon in my mouth.” After playing “Substitute”, Townshend said, “We had our first #1 hit in the USA in 1967. Everybody born here before 1967—don’t clap your hands—you sad fuckers! Yes, it’s from 1967,” as the band played a roaring rendition of “I Can See For Miles.” Daltrey often swung his mic in the air, sometimes wrapping it around his body, and Townshend raised his arms in his famous “windmill” guitar stroke. Starkey played drums phenomenally, mesmerizing the audience with his skill.
A highlight of the evening was a simple duet of “Won’t Get Fooled Again”, with Townshend on acoustic guitar and Daltrey singing. It was not the full electrified version we remember from Who’s Next, but demonstrated fine songwriting. Daltrey’s voice, at his age, is still holding up. He then held out the mic to the audience, as they filled in the chorus blank for this timeless and politically relevant song, “we won’t be fooled again!”
Townshend introduced a violinist and cellist for a gorgeous rendition of “Behind Blue Eyes” before the orchestra joined the band. Townshend also introduced another new song from the upcoming album saying, “We are going to play a new song” asking the audience to not go wild, and to “just listen to it.” He continued, “It’s on Spotify and all that shit.” The song “Ball and Chain” was a blues song—and a pretty good one at that—which was fleshed out with the orchestral accompaniment. The next few songs were from Quadrophenia, and impressive was Daltrey hitting and holding the notes on “The Real Me.”
The evening ended with “Love Reign O’er Me” and likely their most famous and beloved songs, “Baba O’ Riley”. The Who concert was joyous, rocking, and a sight to behold, as Daltrey and Townshend proved, age is just a number and fine songwriting is timeless, as their music holds up 50 years later. Five stars!