Curtis Ross, The Tampa Tribune
TAMPA - The Who's last Tampa show in 1997 was a theatrical affair centered on the "Quadrophenia" album: a horn section, props, guest singers and plenty of video were part of the show.
Tuesday night, The Who knocked out a nofrills, two-hour-plus show of mostly familiar hits before a crowd of more than 12,000 at the Ice Palace.
The short, sharp shocks of "I Can't Explain" and "Substitute" kicked off the concert before the band launched into "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere."
Pete Townshend may not have indulged in the ear-shredding feedback that once was the song's trademark, but his guitar solos were still a coruscating mixture of slurred single notes and bruising power chords.
The song provided an excellent showcase for drummer Zak Starkey, son of the Beatles' Ringo Starr. Starkey has the unenviable (or impossible) task of following the late Keith Moon, The Who's madman drummer. But Starkey has mastered Moon's daredevil rhythms: He teeters just on the edge of chaos before pulling back for shows of sheer brute force.
Townshend's solo acoustic turn on "Drowned" was another highlight. Townshend's finger-picking was incredibly fluid, and his rapid-fire strumming proved that The Who's energy doesn't require electricity.
The relatively obscure "I Don't Even Know Myself" was tossed in, possibly just to keep the set list lively. The classic rock radio staples were what the crowd was there for and The Who didn't disappoint.
"Baba O'Riley" came early in the set - few bands can make three chords sound so full. Bassist John Entwistle got ample solo space on "5:15." Singer Roger Daltrey sounded especially good on a dramatic "Behind Blue Eyes."
Starkey's drumming seemed to spur Townshend to ever more frenzied playing. The squalling noise he wrenched from his guitar on "Won't Get Fooled Again" confirms that, if he didn't die before he got old (as he wished on "My Generation"), he still has venom to spew.