The Who take the Garden back in time

A review of The Who at the TD Banknorth Garden on October 24

, Editor-in-Chief

As part of their mini stateside tour, legendary rockers The Who arrived in Boston Friday night for a show at the TD Banknorth Garden. Frontman Roger Daltry and guitarist Peter Tonwnshend, the band’s only remaining original members, came together and delivred an awesome two-hour rock show that proved that they and their music are timeless.

The Who kicked the show off with a quick run through classics, "I Can’t Explain", "The Seeker", and "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere". With the ecstatic crowd in the palm of their hands, the band moved forward with "Fragments", the first of only two tunes off their last release, 2007’s Endless Wire. As the band avoided the new material, the crowd was left to join in for sing-alongs of old favorites like "Who Are You" and "Behind Blue Eyes". Still, the show’s set was more than a greatest hits package, as The Who revealed a few lost gems for the Boston faithful. "Getting in Tune" off 1971’s Who’s Next was one such pleasant surprise, as was "Sister Disco" from 1978’s Who Are You.

Daltry, who has been criticized in the past for having strained vocals, was in fine form – arguably his best of the band’s recent tours. He held full command of his range, which is understandably a tad lower these days, and worked the crowd well while tossing his microphone all over the place. Townshend, Daltrey’s partner in crime, shredded away at his Strat with unbridled speed. Of course, he raised his hands throughout the night to deliver riffs with his signature windmill.

The band is now backed up by bassist Pino Palladino (in place of John Entwistle, who passed away in 2002), drummer drummer Zak Starkey (in place of original drummer Keith Moon, who died in 1978), as well supporting guitarist Simon Townshend (Pete’s brother) and keyboardist John "Rabbit" Bundrick. Palladino held his own, though rarely moving from his stage right position. Starkey, the son of Ring Starr who has been drumming for the band for over a decade now, anchored the group in rock solid form.

By far the highlight of the night came through a sweeping rendition of the epic classic "Baba O’Riley". The near capacity crowd, of all generations, roared with enthusiasm as the song began with Rabbit’s keys. By the time Townshend’s first riff arrived, pandemonium had descended on the Garden. The band and crowd fed off each other’s energy as the song soared higher and higher. The energy carried through the rest of the night as The Who charged on through the the second half of their set.

Daltry shined throughout a remarkable rendition of "Love Reign O’er Me" before the band delivered an extended take on "My Generation". The crowd raised their hands to clap in union as the band began the politically charged "Won’t Get Fooled Again", which closed out the main set with a raucous sing-along.

The band returned after a short break and began the encore with "Pinball Wizard". From there, the band jammed through seamless back to back renditions of& "Amazing Journey" and "Sparks", which showcased their impressive chops. "See Me, Feel Me" seemed like an odd choice to cap the night off with the full band since it lacks the rocking edge that so many songs possess. However, it made for an easier transition into the show closer, "Tea & Theatre", an acoustic take with only Daltry and Townshend on stage.

The two thanked the crowd sincerely, took a bow, and exited the stage to shattering applause. They came, they conquered, and they proved that these 63 and 64-year old kids are more than just all right, they rock.

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