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The old and the new

The Who, T.D. Banknorth Garden, September 16, 2006
By JIM SULLIVAN  |  September 18, 2006

“I wanna live in the present,” said Pete Townshend from the Garden stage Saturday night, early in The Who’s set. “So let’s play fuckin’ ‘Behind Blue Eyes’. . . awright?” All kidding aside, the Who finally do have new material to draw on – an import EP and a full-length due in October. But their two hour show was a loud meditation on both youth and aging. The youth was seen mostly on a hi-tech video screen, where images of the band in their earlier phases were projected. The age was on stage: not evey drummer Zak Starkey gets a pass anymore – he’s 41.

The original Who are down to two: drummer Keith Moon died in 1978, and bassist John Entwistle in 2002. Pino Palladino continues to fill Entwistle’s spot capably. And Starkey’s long since perfectly his Moon drumming. Vets John “Rabbit” Bundrick (on keys) and Pete’s brother Simon (on rhythm guitar) were also on hand to flesh out the sound. But it was the theme of age, or aging, that provided the set with its real backdrop, in songs like “The Seeker” (“I won’t get to get what I’m after ‘til the day I die”), “My Generation,” and “Real Good Looking Boy” (about the young Elvis shown on screen). They faltered on one new one, “Mike Post Theme,” with Daltrey admitting he missed a verse in what he called “a senior moment.” They also played their new six-song mini-opera “Wire & Glass” in its entirety and trotted out a few others from the forthcoming The Endless Wire.

Of course, the crowd were there for the big numbers, and the Who happily obliged. They began with mid-‘60s classics (“I Can’t Explain” and “Anyway Anyhow Anywhere”), tripped through “Baba O’Riley,” and they made “Won’t Get Fooled Again” seem even more trenchant than it was in 1971. Given the context, it was as good as anyone could expect from the Who as currently constituted.

They encored with a 25-minute “Tommy” compression and closed the show with Daltrey and Townshend performing an unnamed new acoustic tune. And then the lights came up and the future intruded in the form of a voice advertising recorded DVDs and CDs of the show at                      

Related: The Who, Interview: Michael Lang, In a bit of a jam, More more >
  Topics: Live Reviews , Elvis Presley, Keith Moon, The Who,  More more >
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