January 15, 2021

1979-12-12 – The Philadelphia Inquirer

1979 12 12 The_Philadelphia_Inquirer_Wed__Dec_12__1979_

The new Who: Gimmicks are gone, ‘but miiSic’s still potent

By Jack Lloyd

Inqulm Entertainment Writer

It was not quite the Who of old. The
times have changed, and so has the
music. The trademark maniacal as-
sault on the drums disappeared with
the death of Keith Moon late last
year. Concerts no longer conclude
with the ritualistic destruction of the
band’s instruments.

And so. perhaps. there was a degree
of disappointment among those who
jammed the Spectrum for the Who's
two-night engagement, which ended
last night at the Spectrum. Especially

Review

for the younger fans — and they
were in the majority on opening
night — who took the British superg-
roup into their hearts as a result of
such documentaries as the recent
Who film "The Kids Are Alright."
There was no mayhem Monday
night at the Spectrum. And the ab-
sence of mayhem off stage was
viewed with relief by those who
stood guard against a repeat of the

tragedy a week earlier in Cincinnati,
where 11 people died in a stampede
for seats.

But for those who came to experi-
ence the pure power of what may be
the best rock band of them all, there
was no cause for chagrin. The Who
made it clear that it remains a band
to be reckoned with — particularly
in live performances.

There is Pete Townshend. the mas-
termind who put it all together hack
in 1964. Up front. little has changed.
His slashing. windmill guitar chord-
ing and periodic leaps remain a vital
part of the visuals.

Lead singer Roger Daitry has lost
none of the old vigor and skill. With
his head tilted back and his hand
mike held high. he pranced and
danced throughout the group‘s two-
hour and 15-minute performance.

And bassist John Entwhistle was as
seemingly uninterested in the pro-
ceedings as ever. restricting his role
as always to delivering the sharp
basslines.

Kenney Jones is the newcomer.
having joined the Who on drums
after the death of Moon. While he
lacks the dynamics of Moon‘s flam-
boyant style. Jones compensates with

his own steady approach. A compari-
son with Moon is in order only on
those numbers that relied strongly
on Moon's dazzling stick speed.

A new dimension to the Who‘s
music has been provided by the addi-
tion of John (Rabbit) Bundrick on
keyboards. And a three-piece horn
section was called on to augment
several of the band's songs.

To be sure. the group has matured.
and musical concepts have been
expanded. But the power of the
Who's music has not suffered. The
vintage teen anthems and the newer

songs were delivered with a message
for the upstart "new wave" set that
has indignantiy denounced the
“tired old men" of rock music‘s estab
lishment.

What the Who is proving on this
tour is that power pop can be
punched out with an abundance of
class.

The Spirit of the 19605 - and may-
be just a bit of the dream of that dec-
ade — was brought back to life with
“My Generation." “Long Live Rock"
and a medley from “Tommy.“ the
Who‘s landmark rock opera.