Wednesday, September 27, 2006

It's Only Teenage Wasteland

The Who 2006Wow. I'm impressed.

The Who stopped in Des Moines last night at the Events Center. I've never been a huge Who fan, although I've always appreciated their place in rock history. Last night just upped that respect ten-fold.

I was very pleased through the first half of the show as they played some of the classics that I came to see like Who Are You, The Seeker, and Behind Blue Eyes. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed their newer material, including Real Good Looking Boy (from a few years ago) and the mini rock opera from their upcoming CD. First impressions: Roger Daltrey's voice shows his age more than his face, Pete Townsend is the best guitarist I've ever seen live, Ringo Starr has got to be either jealous or proud (or both) of his son's skills on drums, holy crap our seats are good, they really know how to pace a show (yep, I really thought that), and the videos that formed the stage backdrop were quite entertaining.

Then, Baba O'Riley changed everything. I love the song and always have, but that performance was transcendent. During those few minutes, I learned that The Who certainly has earned their status as one of the greats along with The Beatles and The Stones. I could have happily left after hearing what I (and probably countless numbers of other casual fans) used to naively call Teenage Wasteland, but I'm glad I didn't because I would've missed the other highlight of the night, My Generation. That performance put it all in perspective and proved to me that The Who has a lot more depth and variety than I ever gave them credit for. I mean, that song came out 40 years ago and is still quite powerful, particularly with iconic images blazing on the video screens representing the several generations that preceded mine. To me, I not only heard one of The Who's undeniable classics during that performance, but I heard 40 years of many artists and tunes influenced by them since. Then of course the encore included a Tommy medley kicked off by Pinball Wizard and a pleasantly mellow finale of the new Tea & Theater. I couldn't have asked for a better and more surprising live concert experience.

Final impressions: Roger Daltrey's voice warms up nicely, Pete Townsend is clearly in a class by himself, Zak Starkey has a famous father - what's his name?, holy crap our seats were good, the setlist was a perfect mix of old and new - loud and soft, and the videos were much less mesmerizing than watching Townsend on guitar.



  • Kyle Munson's review in the Des Moines Register complete with setlist
  • Kyle's blog about the show
  • Order the two CD set of last night's performance here
  • Read the wiki version of The Who story here
  • Download your favorites via iTunes
  • Francis Bacon's art that was projected during Man in a Purple Dress

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was in attendance at said show, with this blogger. I was less than enthusiastic about attending, but I have to say it was really a great show. I don't know if I'd listen to the music in the car or outside a live show (I didn't know their music before. I know. I am an embarassment.), but the live show was truly an amazing experience.

There were several mullets in the crowd, and the blond skinny midlife crisis insurance adjuster type with her short, feathered hair, goatee, slightly think boyfriend making out in front of us was truly disgusting. But what can you do? Little "Lisa" gets some Mike's Hard Lemonade in her and she just can't keep her hands of "Stu."