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Review: The Who "Hits 50!" Concert At Air Canada Centre

11 March 2016 / by David Matta (author)
The Who Live In Concert (photo: David Matta)
The Who Live In Concert / (photo: David Matta)

I am writing this on the bus home from what was one of the most spectacular musical performances I have ever seen. Sure, The Who hit 50, but that doesn’t mean that they didn’t execute on every single note, beat and microphone swing. I may still be in post concert shock, but I’m sure everyone who was in the Air Canada Centre that evening would agree that The Who were on the top of their game.

Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey and company made their presence felt on stage with a fierce performance of “Who Are You?” treated the crowd to a multiple succession of classics.  At the time of the concert, it was, in fact Roger Daltrey’s 72nd birthday, and Pete did not fail to mention that it’s also the birthday of another Canadian fellow named Justin Bieber. The two rock legends pointed out that even if he still does look more like a 12 year old than a 22 year old, he has done some growing up, so they dedicated “The Kids Are Alright” to Bieber.

Jokes aside, the show was amazingly detailed and entertaining. The visuals displayed on the giant screen were absolutely stunning (especially so when the band tore through the 1973 instrumental “The Rock”) as well as the lighting direction. Some of the real treats of the night were “Love Reign O’re Me”, (during the climax of which Daltrey struck a high note that sent the whole arena reeling back), other tracks like “Amazing Journey,” “Sparks, “Pinball Wizard,” and “See Me, Feel Me” from the band’s 1969 rock opera Tommy

The band didn’t disappear back stage and wait for the crowd to welcome them back for an encore. Instead they went straight into massive stadium anthems such as “Baba O’ Reilly,” which I’ll regrettably clarify as being better, though mistakenly known as “Teenage Wasteland,” and “Won’t Get Folded Again.”

Of course, everyone was missing the legendary Keith Moon and John Entwistle, the original drummer and bassist, respectively, but Roger and Pete surely must have made them proud.  The Who will return to the Air Canada Centre on April 26th, so if you can, be sure to go catch them and witness the greatest rock n’ roll stadium show you’ll ever see. 

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David Matta

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