Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Who's On Your Bucket List?

Seeing The Who was one of the things on my bucket list.

Ideally, I would’ve seen them in their heyday with their full lineup. With that no longer possible, I was looking forward to seeing Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend at Louisville’s KFC Yum! Center last weekend. I was not disappointed … and yet I kind of was, if that makes any sense.

For a couple of aging rock stars, Daltrey and Townshend had plenty of pep. They put together a show of sufficient length and energy. The problem is they did it while playing a bunch of songs I’d never heard of, and I’m a pretty ardent fan.

The Who could’ve easily filled two hours with their greatest hits. Instead, in pure, indulgent Townshend fashion, they featured their Quadraphenia concept album. Of course, I knew that going in and accepted it, but it still made for an uneven performance.

The show opened in familiar enough territory with “The Real Me.” But then it settled into the meat of the Quadraphenia story, accompanied by a multimedia presentation. I won’t bore you here with all the details except to say that Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters does a better job in the rock opera format with “The Wall.”

But then a funny thing happened. About the time the Who hit “5:15,” I was buying into Quadraphenia. I remained engaged until they reached a wonderful crescendo with “Love, Reign o'er Me.” Having finished the album, the Who then whipped the crowd into a final frenzy, running through such hits as “Who Are You?,” “Baba O’Riley,” “Behind Blue Eyes,” and “Won’t Get Fooled Again.”

Sure, Daltrey missed a couple words. And he can’t hit two big notes in a row anymore. But he and his long-term partner ultimately proved worthy of my bucket list status, even if it took them awhile to get there.

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