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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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Roger Daltrey, band electrify with resurrected ‘Tommy’

It started not with a roar, but an explanation.

Associated Press/2010

Associated Press/2010

 “This is a really special piece of music to me. We’ve never actually played it the real way it was supposed to be played onstage. Tonight, we’re going to play it with the respect that it deserves.”

 With that, Roger Daltrey scooped up a pair of tambourines and, with his stunningly good five-piece band, launched into the familiar “Overture” of one of the most beloved rock operas ever crafted.

 On the second night of a two month tour designed specifically to showcase “Tommy,” Daltrey, 67, and his crew, including Pete Townshend’s look-and-sound-alike younger brother Simon on guitar, slashed through the 70-minute opus with chaotic nuance.

 Daltrey, tan and trim in black pants and a white button-down shirt, whipped his microphone in rhythm with the thunderous drums of “Amazing Journey,” his voice mostly thick and muscular for this first half of a two-set show.

 A video screen behind the band – as well as the standard pair flanking the stage at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre at Encore Park – rolled with animated video to complement the story of “that deaf, dumb, blind kid.”

 Black and red cars morphed into dancing soldiers during “1921,” while a blinking amber eye accompanied the massive drum fills of “Sparks.”

 At the first “See me, feel me, touch me, heal me” refrain, the mostly middle-aged crowd of about 6,000 responded rapturously, their memories of dog-eared LP sleeves and worn grooves on their (original) vinyl versions of “Tommy” no doubt flooding back.

 While all of Daltrey’s band – particularly second lead guitarist and music director Frank Simes – were amazing to hear during this musical workout, it was a joy watching drummer Scott Devours throughout the show.

 During the majestic “Pinball Wizard,” as Townshend and Simes faced off with acoustic and electric guitars, Devours looked positively giddy that he was playing Keith Moon’s legendary drum fills – a task he handled masterfully.

 If Daltrey’s genuine purpose for trotting “Tommy” out is to faithfully recreate its musical complexities, consider this attempt a triumph.

 Pete Townshend’s composing genius is most notable in the stylistic swings among “Go to the Mirror!” – with Simon Townshend’s higher range blending sweetly with Daltrey’s rugged tone – into the country lilt of “Tommy, Can You Hear Me?” into, a few songs later, the serrated guitar strains of “I’m Free.”

 Daltrey sang from the gut on that one and in his robust commands during “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” suggesting that his recent throat surgery to remove a pre-cancerous growth has optimized his power.

 After “Tommy” closed in a furious climax of flashing strobe lights and screaming guitars, Daltrey introduced the band and headed into round two, old-school style, with no intermission.

 An obviously much looser presentation found the engaging singer strapping on an electric guitar for a galloping version of “I Can See for Miles” and adroitly leading “Behind Blue Eyes” from its somber first half into its explosive second act.

 Daltrey clearly enjoyed chatting with the crowd about his young adult days as a sheet metal worker – a long-ago career that he said inspired the jaunty “Days of Light” – and, after The Who broke through, his fortuitous run-in with a then-unknown Leo Sayer, who penned almost all of the songs on Daltrey’s 1973 solo debut.

 Other selections at Thursday’s show, such as “Gimme a Stone,” were played, Daltrey said, simply because it was “great fun” to pull out more obscure songs.

 By the latter part of the second set, Daltrey’s voice wasn’t quite as hearty on the high notes. But give the guy credit for revealing his love of Johnny Cash with a splendid medley including “Ring of Fire” and “Folsom Prison Blues” in deep-throated twang mode.

 It would be impossible to walk away from this Daltrey combo show feeling unfulfilled. But almost even better was seeing how much Daltrey still respects his band’s roots.

View photos from the concert.

49 comments Add your comment

Redward

September 16th, 2011
4:15 am

Great writeup, Melissa. Yes, the band did an exceptional job especially on Tommy, and you’re absolutely right about the intrumentalists. From my vantage point, Roger could easily pass for 20 years younger and yes, his voice definitely sounds stronger than the last time I saw him a few years ago. BTW, kudos on spelling Townshend correctly (something the author/editors of the new Jagger hardcover bio apparently could not be bothered to do, lol…)

Les

September 16th, 2011
6:25 am

Saw the man at Broadlands Romsey, England in July was a mind blowing gig

jesusislord

September 16th, 2011
6:40 am

Get over it, you classic rockers. Entwistle is dead and the rest of them are fast on his heels. These guys will all die. Jesus, on the other hand, is alive forever. Give your life to Christ before you die. He makes this life infinitely better and you will not be happy with eternity without Him.

Ozzy

September 16th, 2011
6:46 am

I think I saw Jesus at the show!

Lachacha

September 16th, 2011
7:04 am

Had no idea Jesus was so cynical and grumpy

kreedham

September 16th, 2011
7:14 am

Always liked the Who but never paid too much attention. I was invited by a friend to last nights show and was blown away. The Tommy set was awesome, even the songs I didn’t recognize. I’ll be sure to catch The Who in 2012 when they do Quadrophinia.

kreedham

September 16th, 2011
7:15 am

Forgot to mention…they’re sellling a download of last nights show, at what I think is a good price at http://www.rogerdaltrylive.com. Last night’s show won’t be available though for another day or two!.

Granite

September 16th, 2011
7:19 am

One of the tightest, best sounding concerts you’ll ever see. The band kicked butt and Roger was in great voice, as well as showing why he is one the greatest rock and roll front men of all time. Other nuggets included ‘I can see for miles’, ‘who are you’, and ‘Baba OReilly’ . This concert was the real deal.

MountainMan

September 16th, 2011
7:32 am

I saw The Who at the old city auditorium in the 70’s. The band was late because the equipment was sent to Chastain. At this time they had quit performing Tommy on tour, but since the crowd waited they did an impromptu performance. It was great but Pete forgot the words at times.

Londonman

September 16th, 2011
7:50 am

Last nights show was in one word MAGICAL! There are good shows, there are great shows, there are phenomenal shows and then there’s what happened last night – shows which are pure MAGIC! From the first sounds of Overture to the Riff’s of Pinball Wizard to the finale of Blue, Red and Grey, Daltrey confirms his place with the Rock Gods! The show blew my mind, wasn’t expecting what I saw and heard and to all the Who fans, around the world, Roger is alive and well! What a show and can’t wait for Quadrophinea. Roger keep on rocking!!

Native Atlantan

September 16th, 2011
8:05 am

I remember driving in my TR-6 down peachtree road cranking up Quadrophenia back in the mid-seventies…..the music was such a force in my life and gave me hope during my teenage years…..for the jesus freak posting here….f……..y……….!

Jesus?

September 16th, 2011
8:07 am

I believe it’s Jesus are Lord and what does Jesus have to do with the Who anyway? What would Towndshend do (WWTD)?

Ozzy

September 16th, 2011
8:08 am

TR-6. Man those were cool! I wish I had one now!

Diane

September 16th, 2011
8:12 am

Sexiest 67-year-old I’ve ever seen. The show was terrific. I was prepared for Roger not to have much voice left, but he didn’t disappoint me. I think Townshend’s backing vocals really helped, and the band was terrific. So what if we’re middle aged? We saw the heart of the Who.

Jerry

September 16th, 2011
8:22 am

Stunning show all around..loved all the band especially Frank and Simon
Lighting brought me back to the great old Rock and Roll shows of past but with a modern stylish touch..the visuals upstage I think were done by college kids interpretation of Tommy
What fabulous show without any snobbery just great musical band
And Roger…you are a legend with a soul and powerful voice of old

phatnate

September 16th, 2011
8:37 am

Awesome show. Simon singing “Going Mobile” was the my favorite of the night. They did like 30 songs over 2 1/2 hours and there was never a dull moment. Roger really knows how to work the crowd and is the prototypical lead singer.

WhoFan

September 16th, 2011
8:38 am

I’ve always been a huge Who fan and this concert did not disappoint. I felt 17 again as I relived the thrill of “Tommy”, truly a rock masterpiece! Thanks Roger for taking the mostly over 50 crowd on a trip down memory lane!

Whofan70

September 16th, 2011
8:57 am

Roger’s voice has not sounded better in over 20 years. I was pleasantly surprised at how well his voice has endured at age 67. My wife and I came away from the show saying “This is a really great guy”. Roger was very chatty and seemed to really care about the fans. Roger was in a fine mood and was really complimentary of those of us that came out last night and of all his fans over the years. His “blue collar” days have never been forgotten and he is a very grateful person. WELL DONE ROGER! Get Pete back on the road in 2012 and bring Quadrophenia to Alpharetta!!!!!!!

india

September 16th, 2011
9:02 am

My friend Steve & I saw the show last nite. FANTASTIC! Great Show.! Roger’s got it going on STILL! Back- up band was awesome as well. I was not Fooled Again.! F——Great Rock n Roll show. Hey JesusisLord! Ask him to forgive you!. Cos you ain’t right Dude. Take a chill pill! You too will die but you ain’t going up, you going down down down! LMAO!

ozzfest

September 16th, 2011
9:03 am

Lakewood 1989 (twice), Chastain 1994 (Rog & Jon Entwistle), Lakewood 1997, Houston 2006…and last night in Alpharetta……..THE DUDE ROCKS.

Your next door neighbor

September 16th, 2011
9:10 am

Jesus likely does not care about your music preferences. Jesus likely does not help your friggin’ football team to win. Jesus is not your personal concierge. Religious nuts everywhere, please stop anthromorphising God. God is not your good luck charm, your quarterback, or your childish rabbit’s foot. Every time you claim God to be your copilot, I imagine Him facepalming.
Please grow up and stop playing with your notion of our Creator as your personal G.I. Joe.
-Your next door neighbor

Steve Gold

September 16th, 2011
9:19 am

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect at first. Maybe a retread / fossil rocker trying to recapture a faded glory past. WRONG!!! They were great! To see Tommy performed live was an experience I will never forget. Daltry’s voice was strong and the backup group was excellent. In the back of my mind I wonder… Would the quality of the show / music been better if performed by the original WHO? And my guess is that while the energy might’ve been different… I doubt that the musicianship could’ve been better.

stu baby

September 16th, 2011
9:20 am

Did you stay long enough to hear Baba ORiley?Rodger roared threw it or the final Red,Blue & Grey to close the show …Shame on you..You left early!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Stu

September 16th, 2011
9:32 am

OH MY GOD!!!. i WAS ONE OF THE BIGGEST Who fans having seen them 3 different times. After seeing them at the Super Bowl I gave up on ever seeing them again. All I have to say is, I WAS WRONG!!!!. Roger sounded better than he has in 20 years. Sure he could not hit the sustained high notes but who cares, He sang like Roger Daltrey and for my money few people can or ever will be able to do that. I agree with the previous poster who said Quadrophenia next.

Charlie D

September 16th, 2011
9:50 am

Fabulous ! I’ve been a fan since the first release of Can’t Explain (65′) and seen shows since the early 70’s. This performance (not simply a show) over the top. Outstanding. Roger IS Dorian Grey (look it up if you don’t get it) and was in amazing form, voice great. His band was no less great. The fact he (they) did 2 1/2 hours non-stop with never a miss, something to see.
What makes the Tommy performance even more amazing is that this extraordinary piece of work was written by Townshend when he was in his early 20’s !! Are you kidding me ! Nobody has come close since. A pure perfect partnership, Townshend songs, sung by Daltrey. Roger, take your own advice, Be Well. Be Happy. Thanks . Will be there next year for Quadrophenia,wouldn’t miss it for the world.

Clark

September 16th, 2011
9:50 am

I have been to hundreds of rock shows in my life, including seeing The Who in their younger years. But last night’s show was easily one of the greatest rock shows I have ever seen. I have always loved The Who and also think Tommy is a rock masterpiece. Last night’s show was an emotional experience that I will never forget. Way to go Roger!

David

September 16th, 2011
9:54 am

Whoever made thecomment above about The Who being over it..get real youre an probably XFactor fan and very spineless .The Who are taking a break,Pete is writing and editing,Zak Starkey,Pino Palaadino and Rabbit are still very much The Who,Roger and Simon have taken Tommy on the road for many reasons..Roger keeping his iconic voioce in trim for a possible 2012 Who Tour,Tommy is and will always be legendary….The Who will remain to be one of the most ingenious,innovative and industrious bands in history…..people who make shall ill informed,un researched comments like the fool above have to right to make any comments on anyones music,Why? Simply because they have no understanding and no idea of what good music is.Fact!! David…England…

Man from Milton

September 16th, 2011
11:06 am

What a great show and trip down memory lane! I took my 13 year old son with me and was amazed at how much he enjoyed their music althouh he was hearing most of it for the first time. Seems like the energy level of the Who’s music strikes the viscerals of energy filled teenage boys. It was definitely an older crowd at last nite’s concert than the time I last saw them in 1975 with Keith Moon in full frenetic rage and dB levels so high my ears rang for two days (gives insight into Pete Townsend’s tinnuitis problem). Even though there was no encore, Daltrey cautioned that at his age he would have fallen asleep if he went off stage; Daltry ended the show with a solo on his ukelele. One of the refrains in his song was that he enjoys every minute of every day. Seeing the smile that came across his face, I think he really does.

Kim

September 16th, 2011
11:13 am

Roger looks and sounds great
I was a little worried seeing him solo with Pete but for a music and Who fan this is an amazing journey
The accompanying Light and video footage show is perfect for a classic piece..beautifully done..with lots of style and catches the vibe..its on Fire!
The sound is the best Ive heard in along time
go and see it if you love Music!!!!

Freddy

September 16th, 2011
11:17 am

Rock on Roger!!!!!!!
what an amazing show
Everything about it..Geat band and storys and great visuals..Great Sound..heard every nuance
Rocked out Lighting and Roger is brilliant
thanks Pete for writing such a wonderful piece
makes me yearn for the days when music mattered!

Mick from Cincinnati

September 16th, 2011
11:18 am

Good thing they had assigned seating for this event.

GLake

September 16th, 2011
11:57 am

There was no mention of the bass player? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fkkXKmHQjxY

Mitch from Florida

September 16th, 2011
3:49 pm

I saw him Sept 13 in Ft Lauderdale…….the first show of this tour in the states…..unbelieveable. If you closed your eyes, yo could picture all 4 of the guys there performing….Pete, Keith ,John, and Roger. Cant wait to see what he does at 70

Roger K

September 16th, 2011
6:50 pm

Show rocked and Roger clearly is doing this out of love for the music, not for the almighty dollar (sorry Jesus freak). I did the VIP meet and greet pre-show. Roger Daltrey did everything to make people have a personal visit with him like he knew everyone from long ago. I mentioned being at a show at Forest Hills in 1971. He said yeah, I remember that, terrible rain. (it did)

COYS

September 16th, 2011
7:07 pm

Y’all need to learn to recognize trolls when you see them

Mraudio

September 17th, 2011
11:11 am

BETTER than THE WHO was a few years ago in Gwinette………………SUPER SUPER………………..1 of the best……No neg. comments….MRAUDIO……….And REMEMBER THE STONES ARE THE 2nd BEST GROUP IN THE WORLD.!!!

Mraudio

September 17th, 2011
11:12 am

P.S.—————Saw them at WOODSTOCK……………..

brock

September 17th, 2011
6:53 pm

Very good show, and drummer Devours killed. He is excellent. Roger indeed sounded good, and looked even better.

Now for some quibbles. Why was Underture from Tommy deleted? And why was I’m Free out of album order? I can forgive the reordering, but Underture is part of Tommy, so it should be played (delete the Uke song if you need more time Roger).

Melissa, it’s Folsom Prison Blues by Cash.

acgypsy

September 17th, 2011
8:53 pm

No band has had more of a personal connection with its fans then have The Who. Thre are groups that have sold more records and had more hits, but none have matched the sheer intensity during a live show. I feel very lucky to have seen The Who 22 times, Pete Townshend solo twice, and now Roger on three different tours. Every other band pales in comparsion. Long Live Rock!!

Melissa Ruggieri

September 18th, 2011
1:29 am

Thank you, Brock. I knew something didn’t look right!

kirk anderson

September 18th, 2011
10:29 am

ow. IMy wife and I saw Roger Daltrtey and company in 2009 in Charleston, SC near the end of that Use it our loose it tour. Was an ok show, well aranged but I thought Roger’s voice was almost saddening. I later learned he had a growth on his vocal chords. So I went last night hoping for better.

WOW! The venue was open air and after 89 days being over 90 degrees this Summer, was surpised by a hint of Fall.

Stage set up was mostly utilitarian with the exception of the jumbo screen behind the band which surprising did not have the slick(ech!) graphics from the Jay Leno show, but a fun cartoonish and updated graphical version of what the band was playing.

Roger came out first, after a solo musician opening act who actually pulled someone from the audience to sing with him, and I think explained what the West Palm Beach newspaper mistakenly noted as Roger saying this performance was the first perfoamnce of Tommy. Obviuously not, reviewer, If it seems so wrong, maybe it’s YOUR interpretation that is wrong. ROger told us that this re-incarnation of Tommy was the first time Tommy was performed as it should have been performed(remember Pete saying performing Tommy was hard in the 70’s due to how hard it was to reporduce live, what they had performed and mechanically enhanced in the studio.

That said, I’ve listened to and watched Tommy with my real THE WHO fan, Sharon over the past 40 years and thought it was ok. This interpreation was really stellar, attention getting and holding and very, very enjoyable. You need to go see it to see for yourself.

The second portion saw faithful interpreation of THE WHO classics but also had some individual music flair for the individual musicians that made us and the nearly dol out outdoor arena extremely happy. I spoke with no less than 75 people during the show as I walked through the crowd and felt like the biker buying Tommy gear from the movie. E*V*E*R*Y*O*N*E of the fans loved what they were hearing and seeing. My wife, holy cow, I think she was in heaven. i know she had vision of her lifelong heart-throb, Roger Daltrey dancing in her head all night!

The Daltrey solo tunes were done with so much feeling and the Johnny Cash portion made me do double takes with all of the members as their faithful yet soulful renditions flew off the stage and into our hearts. Fans were lfipping out!

A few fans who came to just hear Baba O’Reilly and Won’t Get Fooled again were a little disappointed by the range f the setlist as they were not familiar wirh McVicar or Daltrey’s album parttiallt written by Leo Sayer….before his disco crap! Back when music was written first be the hearts of writers and musicians and then to sell.

The stunning use of Gibson Les Pauls, SGs(at one time, Simon and Fran both bad SGs, red and white laying down big, fat and meaty licks), Stratocasters and Telecasters gave the whole night differing vibes of guitar leads and rhythms. I believe I even saw Eukele sized hollow body les Paul that Simon pulled out twice.

Scott Deveon on drums was a powerhouse. You could feel the floor toms and kick pedal drive through your body as any good bass riff or drum beat should. Drum rolls a la Keith Moon and smiling like the Joker from Batman!

I was stage left so I had to look across the stage to watch Simon and I missed John Bunton, the bass player, for part of the show but his thumping bassline came through and he even pulled out an upright bass for a couple of tunes including the Johnny Cash segment. I was also oddly cataptived by the keyboardist, Loren Gold, who had to fill the shoes of Rabbit and really did an excellent job.

Vocals is obviusly a hige portion of this show, I saw everyone ion the band helping with backing vocals and harmonies.

Roger’s voice fromt he start was better than 2009. Stronger. Wider Range. MORE CONFIDENT.

I saw the FULL ROGER come out though on Amazing Journey. The strecth fromt he surgery and obvious diligent rehab was stunning! I can be hard on Roger as I have always been jealous of my wife’s love for him, but he was stunning. I really did not want to hear Behind Blue Eyes as I thought this was the place where his aging and my own again became very evident before. I acrtually had a tear in my eye with the power he put forth and the arrangement of supporting vocals.

Sitting directly in front of Frank Simes, guiatarist and band leader, I began to see how good of a time the whole band was having. I also saw the professional musicianship of he and then all of the members. Everyone of them worked so hard to give us a great show and be faithful to the rock opera and all it has meant to music.

My particular favorite was Young Man Blues. Not a rendition of the 60’s hit in all it stripped down Mississippi Blueman glory, not the scene from Isle of White. Holy cow! Power, power power! Scott’s heart-thumping kicks and Roger played his part and elevated his vocals over the driving beat of the drums and stacatto of Simon and Frank. I really could not believe what I was hearing. To borrow a phrase, EARGASM!

Looking back, the whole experience was more than expected. The show was good, the performances were good and even soundbaord had the sound dialed in. I leterally walked from my third row seats in the seats through the lower bowl of seats, upper bowl of seats and lawn. I could hear the individual instruments and the power rang back even to the lawn.

I guess me last words are, Thank you for all of the work all of the musicians, their techs, the sound guy and the general roadies. A truly memorable eveining which capped off a heinous ticket getting exercise.

ost of all, thanks to my wife for turning me onto The Who and being ther ewith me as we reach our 25th wedding anniversary.

Kirka

Pat (Antoinette)

September 18th, 2011
11:39 am

We have VIP tickets for tonight’s concert. I have waited years to finally hear Daltrey do Tommy. (I had seen it on Broadway and worn out a cassette tape and a CD.) From the sound of this review I know tonight will go down as one of my best moments in my life. I am so excited!!!

John

September 18th, 2011
12:08 pm

I am going tonight at Pru center. Is there a warmup band. When do they take the stage

Melissa Ruggieri

September 18th, 2011
1:41 pm

Actually, Kirk, the WPB reporter wasn’t incorrect. I wrote the same thing in a story last month – because every piece of press material from Roger’s people explicitly billed this as the first time “Tommy” was being played in its entirety. Yes, when you hear Roger’s explanation, it is clear that it’s now being played the way he wants it to be heard…but the wording that was provided to the press was a bit misleading, and when we questioned it, knowing that of course The Who played “Tommy” numerous times, we were told that no, THIS tour would have the real, full “Tommy” and none of those others did.
So it wasn’t the WPB reporter’s interpretation …she or he was simply reporting what she or he had been told.

Melissa Ruggieri

September 18th, 2011
1:42 pm

John – yes, warmup act at 8, Roger comes on around 8:40 (or at least that was the schedule in Atlanta).

Brian

September 19th, 2011
10:58 am

Saw them at the Pru Center last night they were absolutely phenomenal. It was the greatest show I have ever seen Roger Daltrey was razor sharp on vocals and the band was fantastic.

dan

September 19th, 2011
6:50 pm

Who was the opening act at the Pru last night ? I liked him alot.

Gavin Ford

September 20th, 2011
12:45 am

About “I’m Free” being out of order, it only makes sense if it comes right after “Smash the Mirror”.

Gavin Ford

September 20th, 2011
12:47 am

Your next door neighbor: +1 on that!