The WhoLast night (May 25th), the Who played the Staples Center in DTLA. I was given a ticket, and I’m embarrassed to admit, I wasn’t sure whether or not I actually wanted to go. Since I’ve never paid much attention to this band, I thought I wouldn’t know many of their songs. Luckily, I decided to go and…what a blast! Turns out, I know a lot more Who songs than I ever realized. In fact, I knew almost every song they played – and I loved them. It was a fabulous trip down memory lane. Who knew I knew the Who!

 

Starting off with “Who are you?” (who/who/who/who), the band immediately brought the packed stadium to its feet. And the hits kept coming as the Who played their biggest songs of the past 50 years, treating the crowd to tunes from Quadrophenia and Tommy – with the major crowd pleaser being Pinball Wizard.

Behind the Who on a large screen, a stunning graphic display gave the band a “larger than life” feeling and kept the show flowing. Synced up to the music, the imagery created a psychedelic experience that at times was heart wrenching as it flashed images of the Vietnam war, Princess Diana, Keith Moon, Nixon, and the Who in younger years, performing their hearts out.

The WhoDuring last night’s performance, front man Roger Daltrey announced that he might have an asthma attack if the folks in front didn’t stop smoking marijuana. “I’m allergic,” he admonished the crowd “can you guys eat that shit instead of smoking it?” Pete Townshend quickly chipped in with “why don’t you guys shove it up your arses! That’s the quickest way to get high!” This, of course, brought a happy roar from the crowd.

Roger Daltrey hit a few flat notes, but all in all, his voice is still powerful, boasting an impressive vocal range, and come on – the man is 72! The Who’s lead guitarist and main songwriter, Pete Townshend (who turned 71 this month) kept up a funny repartee between songs, and absolutely won me over with his guitar showmanship of windmilling guitar strokes. Apparently, once in 1989, Townshend was windmilling so aggressively that he pierced his hand with the guitar’s whammy bar! I love you for it, Pete!

Adding to the Who experience, was the pounding out of steady, rhythmic energy by touring drummer, Zak Starkey – son of Ringo Starr (plus Ringo was in the audience).

Obviously the Who doesn’t have the same dynamite energy they had in their twenties, but they still put on a damn fine show.

 

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