After a poorly received, punchlesa not by Toots and the Maytalls, the Who returned to 1971 form with their performance Tuesday night at the Murphy Center.
"Can't Explain" opened a Who gig that was joyously energetic. An hour and a half of oldies, new material and classic followed in rapid fire succession.
Pete Townshend on guitar was his usual leaping, windmilling self. Roger Daltrey sang and pranced with an exoberant serenity becoming him well. Keith Moon's drumming, while more restrained than in other times, was still artfully frenetic. Surprisingly, John Entwistle actually mobilized, consistently playing bass faster than the eye or ear could follow.
Oldies in the shows were "My Generation", done both normally and in mutated blues fashion. "Boris the Spider" sardonically referred to as "Jimi Hendrix's favorite Who song."
The classic lineup centered around "Summertime Blues", pieces of the "Who's Next" album and a condensed "Tommy". Daltrey's voice was at it's best daring the alternately plaintive and growling "Behind Blue Eyes". Taped synthesizer and organ accompanied the band on "Baba O'Reilly" and "Won't Get Fooled Again". The "Tommy" collage touched all or part of nine songs. Especially eefective were the "Underture" and "We're Not Gonna Take It". Keith Moon even took a shot at vocalizing on "Uncle Ernie" and "Tommy's Holiday Camp".
Only three recent songs were included in the performance. "Drowned" was the sole offereing from "Quadrophenia", while "Squeeze Box" and "Dreaming From The Waist" casulized the band's new "Who By Numbers" album.
The generally awestruck crowed clamored valiantly but were not trested to a rare Who concession, an encore. When a shoe was tossed on stage, Moon commented that every other band got knickers thrown on stage, but they got a shoe.
A new wrinkle in the stagnant field of stage lightning appeared when a laser array was broadcast over the observers.
As an entity, the band combined exellent playing with a carefree attitude, and the crowd's mood was cued from this. The only disappointments were a poorly restructed "Join Together" and the lack on an encore expected by most. Thankfully, someone even had the sense to wave a Union Jack instead of the usual Confederate flag.