Roger Daltrey brought WHO nostalgia to TS
Music legend and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame member Roger Daltrey of The Who recently played to a packed house at the Turning Stone Event Center. Daltrey performed many Who classics along with a few covers and songs from his solo career.
He kicked off the set with “Overture” and “Pinball Wizard” from The Who’s rock opera “Tommy,” “Who Are You” and “Another Tricky Day.” At 74 years old, Daltrey still has a strong set of pipes and stage presence. And he can still whip that microphone around like he’s using it to fight off a band of ninjas.
Before getting into The Who’s moody classic “Behind Blue Eyes,” Daltrey commented on the use of teleprompters by some artists. He said of singing and lyrics, “it’s all form the heart. As long as it doesn’t come from the head.” His polite criticism of needing a little help remembering lyrics would soon come back to haunt him in the most comical of ways. After the song, he said of “Behind Blue Eyes” that “good songs stand the test of time.”
After a cover of Leo Sayer’s “Giving It All Away,” he played a song that he said he loved but that The Who never played that often, “Athena.” He also said he hadn’t played it in a while, but it would be great. As long as he could get the words right. Well, sure enough, he forgot the words. Halfway through the song he went silent during one of the verses. After a moment he signaled for the band to stop and started to laugh. “What a cock up!” he proclaimed, and then told the band “From the top!” They started the song again. He proceeded to forget the words in the same place in the song again. Instead of stopping the song again, he just sat on the drum riser laughing at him himself while the band played on. He jumped in on the next chorus and finished the song without incident, to great applause from the audience. He said of the amusing incident “If you’re going to make a balls up, make it a blooming good one.” He then remembered the forgotten words and recited them as spoken word. Sometimes the most memorable performances aren’t always the perfect ones.
Luckily, he didn’t forget anymore words for the rest of the show. Next in the set were The Who’s highest charting U.S. single “I Can See For Miles” and “Days of Light,” one of Daltrey’s solo songs that he said he wrote about his days of being an apprentice in a sheet metal factory, dreaming of a better way of life. These were followed by “The Punk and the Godfather” and “After the Fire,” another of his solo songs.
For “Going Mobile” a song originally sung by The Who guitarist Pete Townshend, lead vocals were handled by Daltrey’s guitarist. This was fitting as that guitarist was none other than Simon Townshend, Pete’s brother. Along with having a similar look, Simon also has a very similar voice to Pete. Normally, when members of famous bands do a solo tour the musicians they have, while being excellent at what they do, don’t usually bring that history of the band with them. And since Simon actually did make some contributions to classic Who albums, it was a treat to see someone in the band with that intimate connection to The Who’s history.
Daltrey then performed a pair of Who songs, “How Many Friends” and “The Real Me,” the solo song “Without Your Love” and a cover of the Mose Allison song “Young Man Blues.” The penultimate song of the night was The Who classic “Baba O’Riley”. Widely regarded as one of the greatest rock songs of all time, everyone was on their feet as Daltrey rocked his way through every power chord. During the “teenage wasteland” part of the song, Daltrey held out the mic toward the crowd and everybody in the event center was singing it at the top of their lungs. It was a rollicking version of a truly epic song.
As mentioned before, Daltrey didn’t forget anymore lyrics after “Athena” but that was not the end of his humorous performance issues. Coming off of “Baba O’Riley,” Daltrey finished the show with his solo song “Always Heading Home” off his new album “As Long As I Have You.” The opening lines of the song are sung in a soft, high pitch. His voice kept cracking during these opening lines. Since he was only a few seconds into it and before the rest of the band came in, he simply stopped and restarted, laughing each time. Three times. He said after screaming his way through “Baba O’Riley” and then having to sound like an angel was a bit much. He finally got through the trouble spot in the opening lines and the crowd cheered him on.
Despite the issues with “Athena” and “Always Heading Home,” which were handled in stride and with great humility and humor, Daltrey put on an amazing show for a crowd of all ages. Hopefully he keeps rocking and swinging that mic for many years to come.
James Suits Photography / The Fuze Magazine
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