Wednesday, August 4, 2004


Pete Townshend of The Who struck a familiar pose at the Blaisdell Arena show yesterday. The band, in its 40th year, will play at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center today.

Rock legends
keep up heat

Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend
turn back the clock at Blaisdell

Forty-plus years as members of rock 'n' roll's most exciting band hasn't lessened a note of the enthusiasm, energy, and magnetism of The Who guitarist Pete Townshend and vocalist Roger Daltrey.

From the opening note of their first song "I Can't Explain" at the Blaisdell Arena last night, the band had a capacity crowd of nearly 7,000 on their feet screaming, fists raised, mesmerized by these rock survivors.

The Who -- or, more accurately, the half-Who, surviving members Daltrey and Townshend with a band of some long-term and recent additions -- were back in Hawaii after 37 years, hitting the stage with a purpose and vengeance.

They followed their opening number with two other early hits, "Substitute" and "Anyway Anyhow Anywhere."

They moved on to mid-period songs like "Who Are You," "You Better You Bet," and the defiant "Won't Get Fooled Again."

New songs included "Real Good Looking Boy" and "Old Red Wine," both of which were well received.

It was a flashback to 1970 as The Who unleashed its raw, in-your-face brand of "maximum rock 'n' roll."

Daltrey's foghorn voice still packs plenty of heat and energy, though four decades of singing prevented him from hitting some high notes.

Roger Daltrey of The Who was up to his trademark microphone twirling antics last night during the band's performance at the Blaisdell Arena. The Who plays the Maui Arts & Cultural Center tonight.

Townshend, in black suit and T-shirt, did his trademark arm windmilling, occasional leaps, and climbed on a stage speaker. He hasn't let age diminish his talent, playing the guitar with precision and invention.

The only miscue was early on when Daltrey missed catching the microphone he has twirled for decades.

Daltrey and Townshend were backed by long-time keyboardist Rabbit Bundrick, Townshend's younger brother Simon Townshend on rhythm guitar, drummer Zak Starkey (Ringo's son), and session bassist Pino Palladino.

The group worked their way through a generous two-hour helping of 19 classics, including four encore songs including "Pinball Wizard."

On-stage chemistry between Daltrey and Townshend seemed genuine.

Daltrey's energy and trademark microphone twirling had fans close to the stage in a near frenzy. Townshend gained momentum as the evening progressed, pounding his guitar with a fist, banging the instrument against his hip, then switching to gentle strumming riffs.

Listening to Daltrey's impassioned versions of "Love Reign O'er Me," "Won't Get Fooled Again," and "Behind Blue Eyes" was a wonderful reminder that no band boasts a more diversified catalogue, nor touches the rock 'n' roll soul so effectively.

The Who plays Maui Arts & Cultural Center tonight.

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