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Daltrey Revives Spirit of Who

October 17, 1994|CHUCK CRISAFULLI

What's a Who concert without the Who? A surprisingly satisfying evening of revitalized classic rock, it turns out.

Roger Daltrey brought his "Daltrey Sings Townshend" show to the Greek Theatre on Saturday and energetically celebrated the songwriting of his former band mate, Pete Townshend, with two hours of revamped tunes associated with his old group.

Backed with a rock band and a full orchestra, the golden-maned, iron-throated singer tore into hoary, familiar faves such as "I Can See for Miles" and "Baba O'Riley" with gritty conviction. The singer was also in fine form on rarer tracks like "Naked Eye" and "After the Fire," and proved throughout the night that he remains an unparalleled microphone-cable twirler.

Who bassist John Entwistle joined Daltrey for the second half of the show, and the Townshend gene pool was represented by Pete's brother, Simon, on rhythm guitar. But it was the lack of Who-reunion expectations and baggage that allowed the band's music to be fully and freshly appreciated.

"Who Are You" was played as a slippery blues tune. An extended section of material from the 1973 "Quadrophenia" album was particularly solid. And the ensemble's mix of raw power and orchestral flourishes perked up "Won't Get Fooled Again."

"People ask why I'm doing this, when I should be tucked in bed with a hot-water bottle," Daltrey told the crowd. "The reason is that I'm a giant Who fan."

That honest affection for the material turned what might have been a self-serving oldies show into a substantial heartfelt tribute to the landmark British band that called it quits for good after a 1989 reunion tour.

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