Gene Stout, Seattle Post-Intelligencer Pop Music Critic
The windmills were spinning at The Gorge this weekend.
The power source was Pete Townshend, guitarist for British rock supergroup The Who.
Townshend's trademark windmill technique -- swinging his arm in giant circles as he played guitar -- brought whoops of delight from the crowd of more than 13,000.
Currently on a U.S. tour, The Who are reliving the glory days of their career, which began in the '60s with such songs as "I Can't Explain" and "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere."
The band was in top form at The Gorge, dazzling the crowd with a generous selection of old hits and obscure gems, among them "I Can't Even Know Myself."
This wasn't a group of 50-ish has-beens milking the concert circuit one last time. Townshend, singer Roger Daltrey and bassist John Entwistle performed with the skill and artistry of seasoned veterans with a renewed passion for their music. Daltrey, 56, looked especially good -- and surprisingly youthful.
The core members were joined on stage by guest musicians Zak Starkey (Ringo Starr's son) on drums and John "Rabbit" Bundrick on keyboards. Starkey was the quiet powerhouse, keeping time with awesome precision.
The 2 1/2-hour show under clear skies followed a set by UnAmerican, an English quartet led by former World Party guitarist Steve McEwan.
The Who opened with "I Can't Explain" and moved through its repertoire in a loose, chronological order, offering songs from "My Generation," "The Kids are Alright," "Quadrophenia" and other albums. The show included a spotlight set by Townshend on acoustic guitar.
The audience cheered at the distinctive opening riffs of "Baba O'Reilly," a song that provided one of many special moments in the show -- and some great harmonica playing by Daltrey. Spinning lights illuminated the crowd during another classic tune, "Pinball Wizard."
The group's signature "Who Are You?" was followed by a jam-oriented "Magic Bus" and a dreamy "Behind Blue Eyes," slightly marred by a stiff breeze that caused some sound problems. A good-natured Daltrey afterward quipped, "Would someone please turn the wind down?"
The main set came to a close with "You Better You Bet" and "Won't Get Fooled Again." The encore featured a tender "The Kids Are Alright" and the anthemic "My Generation."