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The Who Pay Homage To

Moon, Entwistle

The Who - Baba O'Riley.
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Pete Townshend in 2008. Images by flipkeat and A6U571N and used under the terms of a Creative Commons License.
At Phoenix Metro Stop Of The Legendary Band’s Quadrophenia And More Tour, Fans Relish In The Still Potent Thunder Of Surviving Members And Pay Respects To Those Departed


By Jeff Moses
Modern Times Magazine

Feb. 8, 2013 — “Who are you,” was my first question when I got to Arena earlier this week to see The Who's "Quadrophenia And More," tour and opening act Vintage Trouble was on stage.

Their lead singer, Sammy Davis Jr. knock-off Ty Taylor, answered that question with his huge set of pipes.

Though their music was live and fun Vintage Trouble failed miserably to capture the attention of the crowd of over 10,000, thus proving that a massive headliner needs a massive opening act.

When The Red Hot Chili Peppers came around they had festival regulars Band of Skulls with them, when The Black Keys came to Phoenix huge hipster favorite Tegan and Sara were the openers du jour. Shoot, when Rob Zombie last played the Valley he had Anti-Christ Superstar Marilyn Manson as the opening act.

In my not so humble opinion, The Who should have gone with a bigger opener. Or, they should have gone the Roger Waters route and dished out the main course sans appetizers.

Vintage Trouble played valiantly however, and even took time out on the main concourse to meet and greet with the fans that were interested.

But once The Who took the stage, and Pete Townshend made that first windmill stroke on his guitar, it would not have mattered if it was Batman opening the night and doing a meet and greet. Butts were planted in seats.

The Who did not sell out the Arena, which I thought was strange considering they are one of the biggest bands of all time, but it being a Wednesday probably didn’t play in their favor.

Neither did their liberal slant in this conservative wasteland we call The Valley of the Sun.

Even without a capacity crowd the people who showed up were definitely happy to be there.

Standing up and dancing was a rarity in the crowd, which the average age had to be right around 70, but plenty of old school rockers were in their seats spiraling out to the sounds of their rebellious youth.

Some of the rebellion may have been zapped away from Roger Daltrey in his old age: According to the screens behind the stage and stadium announcer it was at his request that no one smoke in the arena, and that “Roger prefers brownies.”

But the erstwhile geriatric patients that Daltrey and Townshend have matured into can still bring the thunder. Even though only they can still call themselves The Who they found a way to tastefully bring their departed bandmates Keith Moon and John Entwistle back to life.

Moon was celebrated by way of a vintage video of him singing while bashing on his drums with both sticks in one hand while the band took care of the rest. Entwistle’s mastery of the bass guitar — he is considered one of the best of all time — provided the highlight of the night: an Earth shattering bass solo that left the crowd breathless.

After that, much of the crowd might have been happy to let Townshend and Daltrey go right into “Tea and Theater,” and called it a night, but The Who played on.

The stellar renditions of “Baba O’Riley,” “Pinball Wizard,” and “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” were great for the wrap up after the the Quadrophenia set, but for this crowd, Feb. 6 was a night for reverence and remembrance of Moon and Entwistle.

Jeff Moses is a freelance writer and photographer from Teaneck, N.J. currently living in Mesa, Ariz. He has been published in The Mesa Legend and The Highway Herald. Contact him by calling 727-385-0624.
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