When Roger Daltrey arrived on stage, he was armed with a cup of tea, rather than anything stronger.</p>Age has not yet mellowed the 67-year-old’s formidable voice.
Now recovered from a throat scare 18 months ago, Daltrey sounded suitably commanding throughout both sections of this gig, the first part delivering the Who’s 1969 rock opera Tommy in full, the second providing a selection of hits, covers and rarities. Daltrey’s own blunt manner hasn’t changed from those days, and he stressed this wasn’t a Who show, although the band’s shadow loomed large.
Daltrey doesn’t whirl about these days. But there was still rippling power vocally, as well as some microphone twirling. The first such gesture occurred early into Tommy, following the crashing Overture. Although hearing the record’s hybrid of styles and concepts in full was at times stunning, as on Sparks insistent groove, a sturdy The Acid Queen and an unsurprisingly rambunctious Pinball Wizard, it highlighted some of the record’s flab throughout its excessive second half.
It was performed faithfully by Daltrey’s unstylish yet highly competent backing band, who included Pete Townshend’s younger brother Simon. There was no denying the sheer heft of We’re Not Gonna Take It’s climax, before Daltrey delivered over an hour of further material.
Some selections, such as a messy Pictures Of Lily and a hokey Johnny Cash medley, were best forgotten. Yet there was also a resounding Baba O’Riley, a blues-heavy revamp of Who Are You and an aggressive Young Man Blues. Those tracks still possessed a substantial force, much like Daltrey.