Who’s Roger Daltrey brings surprises to Vancouver

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      At the Commodore Ballroom on Saturday, October 10

      Before heading off to see Roger Daltrey I made up a list of the five Who songs I figured he’d be most likely to perform—along with the solo material nobody much cared about. These weren’t my fave Who tunes—most of those are non-hits from the brilliant Quadrophenia album—just ones synonymous with the British rock legends. The songs I came up with were “I Can’t Explain”, “My Generation”, “Magic Bus”, “Won’t Get Fooled Again”, and “Who Are You”. As it turns out I’m a lousy predictor of set lists, because I only got one right. At least it was the opener.

      Looking about as fit as any 65-year-old rock god ought to, Daltrey strode on-stage and started strumming an acoustic guitar for a slowed-down version of “Who Are You”, the title track from the final Who album to feature drum legend Keith Moon. “That will be the last familiar Who song you’ll hear tonight,” announced Daltrey right after it, but he was only joking, immediately heading back to 1967 for the hit single about masturbation, “Pictures of Lily”, and then, rather unexpectedly, tossing in “Going Mobile”, a bouncy ditty off 1971’s classic Who’s Next. That tune sported a tasty wah-wah solo by guitarist and musical director Frank Simes, who shared the six-string duties with Simon Townshend, younger brother of Who main man Pete.

      Daltrey continued to bring the surprises when he was left alone on-stage to perform “Blue Red and Grey”, a track off 1975’s The Who By Numbers, accompanying himself on ukulele. Before performing the tedious “2,000 Years” he proclaimed “You can sing this one to me,” but no one took him up on the offer. Just as well, since he got his songs mixed up.

      “This is the one that’ll make you sing,” Daltrey corrected afterward, “not that one. Fucking lists. They’re always wrong.” Then the familiar strains of another Numbers track, “Squeeze Box”, did indeed convince a good portion of the capacity crowd to sing along.

      Another screwup occurred when Daltrey forgot the lyrics partway through “Days of Light”, an upbeat song from his 1992 solo album, Rocks in the Head. He explained that it was only the second time he’d sung it in his life, so the other time must have been when he did it on Late Night with David Letterman, as documented on YouTube. At any rate, he didn’t seem too flustered by the slip-up; it was, after all, the first show of his first solo tour since 1985. He just cheerfully started the song over again. What a smashing bloke.

      After re-creating some of the ruckus of the Who’s late-’60s Live at Leeds period with “Young Man Blues”, Daltrey led the group in a medley of Johnny Cash tunes then wasted our time with the childish “Boris the Spider” before compensating with “Baba O’Riley”. “I’m now going to do a half hour of Jerry Lee Lewis songs,” he teased when called back for an encore, but instead he ended the night on a stellar note with Quadrophenia’s “The Real Me”. Hey, if he was only gonna play one song off that sprawling masterpiece, at least he picked the right one.




      Oct 11, 2009 at 5:04pm

      "wasted our time with the childish “Boris the Spider” " What a great treat to hear that song... you're obviously not a real fan. Great show by Roger and the band.

      Steve Newton

      Oct 11, 2009 at 5:23pm

      I'm a real fan; that song just sucks. Face it, John Entwistle was an awesome rock bassist, maybe the best ever, but he couldn't write songs worth beans.

      David Wooldridge

      Oct 12, 2009 at 7:05am

      What about "Heaven and Hell", Live at Leeds and also played at Isle of Wight 1970. "My Wife" from Who's Next and "The Quiet One" from Face Dances to name a few.The Who are and will remain rock legends.Innovative, inspirational,brilliant musically, great live performers and unique. Long Live The Who !


      Oct 12, 2009 at 8:40am

      Anyone that lists songs from Quad as their favs is indeed a real fan in my book, but how can you say John couldn't write songs worth beans ??!! What about My Wife, Had Enough ( the one from WHO Are You, not Pete's same titled song from Quad ), Dangerous- let alone his solo work ? Sorry man, you may be a real fan, but I couldn't disagree with you more about John's songwriting ability. And it wastes no one's time for Roger to pay homage to the Ox.


      Oct 12, 2009 at 9:18am

      My Wife was worth a some beans! And I'd give even a few legumes for Heave and Hell, and there are a few more which I won't waste my time listing in responce to an idiotic comment from the bean head above!! Fan? Ha! I've seen better fans at Walmart for $3.00.

      Slip Kid

      Oct 12, 2009 at 9:20am

      I love to hear Boris Live.....Its not a masterpiece but still part of the who's legacy.


      Oct 12, 2009 at 10:15am

      Yeah he could, 'Heaven And Hell' was a great John Entwhistle song ,as was 'Success Story', 'My Wife' ...


      Oct 12, 2009 at 10:54am

      Well, hmmmm... Boris may be a bit childlike, but I didn't find it a waste of time. At least it wasn't My Wife. :P ;) Loved John to bits and he was one of the best bassists ever, but well... you don't have to love Boris to be a true fan of The Who...

      The concert was awesome and it was even more fun because Roger was having fun too, despite his technically frustrations.

      Classic poses peppered the night... http://photos-b.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs241.snc1/8825_15662638661...

      The audience was engaged and having a great time. Ending with The Real Me was brilliant.

      Here's a bit of The Real Me... Simon was great.. His voice added a lot to certain songs, of course.




      And Roger after the encore.... Class in a glass... http://photos-h.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs261.snc1/8825_15662794661...

      Photos by Daniel Jolly and Vique


      Oct 12, 2009 at 11:08am

      Is there some reason you didn't mention the venue?

      Steve Newton

      Oct 12, 2009 at 11:49am

      look again, Scottie