Monday, May 25, 2015

Concert Review: The Who Celebrates 50 Years With Fans At The Mohegan Sun Arena

Not many bands can stake a claim to being around for fifty years and of those bands, only a few can still rock as hard as The Who. The band first stepped foot in Connecticut back in 1968, performing at a small venue called the Oakdale Theatre in Wallingford (which my father attended) as they smashed their instruments at the end of their performance. Now 47-years later, The Who made their most recent visit to the state as part of their "The Who Hits 50!" tour as they played to a sold out arena at Mohegan Sun on Sunday night.

Kicking off the night's entertainment was a visit from Joan Jett and The Blackhearts, who were recently inducted into the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame back in April. Her 40-minute set touched upon every aspect of her career, beginning with "Bad Reputation" from her 1980 debut album. Jett then dove back into her catalogue for a rendition of "Cherry Bomb" from her time in The Runaways. Joan Jett brought the audience to their feet with her #1 single "I Love Rock 'n' Roll," before closing with a rocking version of Tommy James' "Crimson and Clover" and "I Hate Myself For Loving You."

As the lights dimmed for the headliner, The Who, their six-piece backing which consists of Pete Townshend's younger brother Simon on guitar and Ringo Starr's son Zak Starky on drums took their respected spots on stage. Then the remaining two original members Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey strolled onstage to a standing ovation. They started the night off with one of their earliest singles, "I Can't Explain" from 1965. Pete Townshend's signature windmill guitar strumming got the crowd going early as "Who Are You" showcased the full potential of their backing band. As The Who dove far back into their catalog with the songs "My Generation" and "The Kids Are Alright," a giant screen behind them would mix in live video with classic photos of the band's early days. The thunderous rhythm of "Join Together" got the audience marching in unison to the beat, while Roger Daltrey's vocals on "Love Reign O'er Me" left no doubters as to his singing abilities. The Who included their mini-rock opera "A Quick One (While He's Away)" as an introduction to their famous rock opera "Tommy."

The four-song "Tommy" epic was the perfect setting for guitarist Pete Townshend to declare war on his guitar as he attacked the strings during "Sparks." This led The Who into their hit single "Pinball Wizard" to which everyone was waiting for. Then, the famous keyboard introduction of "Baba O'Riley" got everyone up once again singing the chorus, "teenage wasteland" back to the band. The Who closed their nearly two hour set with "Won't Get Fooled Again" as Roger's screams continued to ring through the arena (and our ears) as they thanked their fans for sticking with them for fifty years and more.

Setlist: I Can't Explain, The Seeker, Who Are You, The Kids Are Alright, Squeeze Box, I Can See For Miles, My Generation, Behind Blue Eyes, Bargain, Join Together, You Better You Bet, I'm One, Love Reign O'er Me, Eminence Front, A Quick One (While He's Way), Amazing Journey, Sparks, Pinball Wizard, See Me Feel Me/Listening To You, Baba O'Riley, Won't Get Fooled Again

1 comment:

jrh17 said...

My father also attended the '68 Oakdale concert by The Who. Does your Dad remember anything else about that evening? I know it was so long ago, but I still have my Dad's ticket stub and I am hoping to put together something cool that he could frame and hang up in his basement. Even on the Internet of Everything, there seems to be pretty sparse info available about that show that has survived.