BY DANIEL GLUSKOTER
There’s not a lot of bands that can still fill arenas around the world in spite of only putting out one new studio album in close to 30 years. But you can certainly count The Who on that shortest of lists.
Soldiering on after the death of their iconic and exuberant drummer Keith Moon in 1978 while still at the peak of their powers, and more recently the passing of bassist John “The Ox” Entwistle in 2002, The Who have overcome both the loss of half of their original band in addition to other tragedies to continue being relevant well into their sixth decade. Accompanied by a 48 piece orchestra, founding members Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey and company are preparing to appear at the new Chase Center in San Francisco on October 9th as part of their Moving On! tour in advance of the release of their first new album since 2006.
Nearly seven years after helping to bring the 2012 London Olympic Games to a close on their home turf, and a decade after headlining the Super Bowl halftime show, the iconic English rock band last embarked on a major tour in 2016 as part of their 50th Anniversary tour celebration.
Daltrey and Townshend, both now in their mid-70’s, have clearly rejected the “Hope I Die Before I Get Old” theme of their seminal break thru hit “My Generation” in exchange for educating yet another generation of fans to one of the most influential bands of both the 20th century and rock history.
Townshend is a songwriting genius, having written hundreds of songs and concept albums including a majority of both the magnum opus Tommy in addition to Quadrophenia and 1971’s Who’s Next, an innovative hard rock classic on most critics short list as one of the greatest albums of all time.
With just ten shows remaining on a North American tour that could be their last, recent reviews indicate that the band continues to perform a vintage two hour setlist at the highest level that few others from their era beside Paul McCartney and The Rolling Stones can come close to matching.
The addition of Zak Starkey ( Ringo Starr’s son and the bands primary drummer since 1994) and guitarist Simon Townshend has went a long way towards supplementing any missing bombast from days long gone by. Also, striking lighting displays in addition to theatrical video montages both pay tribute to the bands history and provide a timeline of the last half century with sometimes psychedelic images ranging from Richard Nixon and Princess Diana to the more recent carnage of 9/11 and the toppling of Saddam Hussein’s statue in Iraq.
Performing hits ranging from “Who Are You” and “Love, Reign O’er Me,” to “You Better You Bet,” “Behind Blue Eyes,” “Pinball Wizard,” “Won’t Get Fooled Again” and “Baba O’Riley” to an introduction of their newest material should surely be incentive enough to catch a few more Daltrey microphone twirls and signature guitar windmills by Townshend for any true fan of rock.
It’s not going to be often that the excitement level at the Chase Center comes close to exceeding that of a Warriors game, but October 9th promises to be a rare opportunity to take in one of the last performances of this legendary band. Just don’t forget your earplugs for what is guaranteed to be both a high energy and high decibel performance.
Tickets for The Who’s October 9th performance at the Chase Center are available at: https://www1.ticketmaster.com/the-who-moving-on-san-francisco-california-10-09-2019/event/1C005684E59D8C6F?_ga=2.212838036.1006123025.1566229467-1269572879.1566229467&affil_code=umg_uk