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  • Writer's pictureKen Murray

The Who in Concert - Still Rocking after 60 Years!

Shelly and I went to see The Who in concert tonight. The Who is my favorite rock band (after The Beatles). We saw them at RFK Stadium and the Verizon Center 30+ years ago, and both shows were fantastic. The past few weeks, I had been listening to my favorite Who album, the rock-opera, "Tommy", and watching Youtube videos of them at Woodstock and the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival. They were rock gods, and had so much energy and passion. I wasn't sure how tonight's show would be. Roger Daltrey is 78, and Pete Townshend is 77. Keith Moon died before Shelly and I saw The Who in concert, but John Entwistle, who passed in 2002, was still alive when we saw them. How would the show be with just two original members? How would their voices sound? Would they still have the energy and passion that made them, in my opinion, the best live rock band ever?

We drove to Washington DC and parked a few blocks away from the Capital One Center. We stopped at Eat BRGZ to have a burger and a couple drinks. Apparently, the burger has all the toppings already mixed in with the ground beef. We got our meal and it was a real blah. I choked mine down, and Shelly didn't finish hers. We left immediately after we ate and headed to a dive bar on 7th Street called Jackpot. It's in the basement of a building, and we had been there a few weeks ago after the Journey/Toto concert we were supposed to see was cancelled due to a bandmember contracting Covid. It's a fun, little place and was crowded with concert-goers. We had a couple drinks, and then headed across the street to the concert venue.

Our seats were pretty good, on the immediate left-side of the stage. Shelly got the tickets from Vet Tix, a company that secures and provides free tickets to veterans and first responders. When we arrived, the opening performer, Amethyst Kiah, was playing. She and her band were good, playing a bluesy-rock mix. At 8:45pm, The Who took the stage to the delight of the 15,000 or so fans. Here's a photo of Shelly and me with the band on stage in the background.

Much to my delight, they started with selected song from the album, "Tommy". The band was backed by what was probably a 40-piece orchestra, and the overture sounded beautiful. They also did "1921", "Amazing Journey", "Sparks", "Pinball Wizard", and finished with my favorite, "We're Not Gonna Take It". Roger Daltrey's voice was great! Not just great for a 78-year old, but great! Pete Townshend was still the showman on the guitar, including his signature "windmill". They both looked and sounded great, had the energy and passion of old, and my slight concern about "how good they'd be" was quickly erased.

After the excerpts from "Tommy", the got the audience rocking with them with "The Seeker", "You Better You Bet", "Join Together", and "You Won't Get Fooled Again". They then slowed things down with the beautiful "Behind Blue Eyes", featuring a wonderful violinist and cellist.

The Who continued the show with excerpts from "Quadrophenia", including a great rendition of "Love, Reign o'er Me", that proved that Daltrey's voice is as strong as ever.

The final song of the night was "Baba O'Riley", which again got the crowd rocking and signing in unison. Pete and Roger introduced the band, and thanked the crowd. I'm pretty certain this was the last time I would see The Who live. You listen to these great songs on albums, cassettes, CDs, and stream, and you envision The Who performing them in your head. It was a special treat to see them perform them live and in-person, and I am grateful I have these opportunities. Thank you Peter and Roger for a wonderful and memorable show.

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