The Who hit wondrous highs, and depressing lows at Alpine

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The Who performs with a 48-piece orchestra at Alpine Valley Music Theatre on Sept. 8 in  Wisconsin.

About halfway through the Who’s Alpine Valley Music Theatre show Sunday, guitarist Pete Townshend heaped some major praise on the 48-piece symphony behind him — largely consisting of Wisconsin musicians — and making a confession in the process according to  Journal Sentinel.

“They’re all 50 times better than we will ever be,” Townshend said. “They can do anything pretty much, these guys. We’re so honored to be able to play with such fine players.”

As a founding member of one of the most influential rock bands of all time, Townshend was underselling his talents a bit. But Sunday night, the orchestra did consistently play better than the band itself.

Big Cigars was first released as Guantanamo on the 2015 Pete Townshend compilation album entitled Truancy: The Very Best Of Pete Townshend. In comparison to the 2015 version, which was dominated by jangly acoustic playing, this live version features the guitarist’s masterful electric fills and orchestral backing.

The definite low point during the two-hour set: “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” one of the band’s greatest heart-pumping hits, recast as a two-man performance with only one acoustic guitar. There was nothing wrong with the format — an intimate acoustic moment with just Daltrey and Townshend would have been welcome, and could have been touching — but it was the absolute wrong song choice, made worse with the band’s insistence that it be rendered as a foot-stomping rocker, with Daltrey seemingly thrown by Townshend’s off-tempo, herky-jerky playing.

“Pick up my guitar and play/Just like yesterday,” Daltrey sang, but his strained, thin vocals illustrated just how far removed “yesterday” really was. Daltrey didn’t even bother trying to sing the song’s signature screams.

Daltrey was off to a decent start, sounding lovely and smooth for “Imagine a Man” 10 songs in. But these are hard songs for a weathered, 75-year-old voice. He tried to mask some shortcomings with dramatic presence and signature mic-swinging flair, but there were times, like for “I Can See for Miles,” where it seemed his voice might crash and burn.

With Orchestra
Overture -It’s a Boy -1921 -Amazing Journey- Sparks- Pinball Wizard -We’re Not Gonna Take It
Who Are You -Eminence Front- Imagine a Man -Join Together Band Only – Substitute -I Can See for Miles
Won’t Get Fooled Again  Behind Blue Eyes Tea & Theatre -The Real Me – I’m One- The Punk and the Godfather
5:15 – Drowned -The Rock -Love, Reign O’er Me – Baba O’Riley

. Due to intense demand, the new show will take place on October 24, following the two previous Hollywood Bowl dates on October 11 and October 13. It’s the first time in the band’s celebrated history that they’ve played three dates at the historic venue during one touring cycle.

The Bowl dates will also mark their first appearance at the famed amphitheater since a two-show run they performed there in April and May of 2006. Tickets for the Hollywood Bowl go on sale Friday, May 17th at 12pm local time at LiveNation.com.  The Who Fan Club pre-sale runs from Tuesday May 14th 12.00pm PDT until Thursday May 16th at 10.00am PDT. If you are already a member of The Who Fan Club the code you were given on joining will be valid for the pre-sale.

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The Who 2019 ‘Moving On’ Tour Dates

Sept 1 / Madison Square Garden / New York City

Sept 3 / Scotiabank Arena / Toronto, ON SPECIAL GUEST: MOON VS SUN (Raine Maida and Chantal Kreviazuk) 

Sept 6 / Xcel Energy Center / St. Paul, MN SPECIAL GUEST: Reignwolf

Sept 8 / Alpine Valley Music Theatre / Alpine Valley, WI SPECIAL GUEST: Dead Horses

Sept 10 / Blossom Music Center / Cuyahoga Falls, OH SPECIAL GUEST: Peter Wolf

Sept 13 / Fenway Park / Boston, MA SPECIAL GUEST: Peter Wolf

Sept 15 / Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater / Wantagh, NY SPECIAL GUEST: Reignwolf

Sept 18 / State Farm Arena / Atlanta, GA SPECIAL GUEST: Reignwolf

Sept 20 / BB&T Center / Ft. Lauderdale, FL SPECIAL GUEST: Reignwolf

Sept 22 / Amalie Arena / Tampa, FL SPECIAL GUEST: Reignwolf

Sept 25 / Toyota Center / Houston, TX SPECIAL GUEST: Reignwolf

Sept 27 / American Airlines Center / Dallas, TX SPECIAL GUEST: Reignwolf

Sept 29 / Pepsi Center / Denver, CO SPECIAL GUEST: Reignwolf

Oct 9 / Chase Center / San Francisco, CA SPECIAL GUEST: Liam Gallagher

Oct 11 / Hollywood Bowl / Los Angeles, CA SPECIAL GUEST TBA

Oct 13 / Hollywood Bowl / Los Angeles, CA SPECIAL GUEST TBA

Oct 16 / Viejas Arena at Aztec Bowl San Diego State University / San Diego, CA SPECIAL GUEST: Liam Gallagher

Oct 19 / T-Mobile Park / Home of the Seattle Mariners / Seattle, WA SPECIAL GUEST: Liam Gallagher

Oct 21 / Pepsi Live at Rogers Arena / Vancouver, BC SPECIAL GUEST: Liam Gallagher

Oct 24 / Hollywood Bowl / Los Angeles, CA SPECIAL GUEST: Liam Gallagher

 

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THE WHO LAST NIGHT !! 🖤🖤🖤🤘🤘🤘

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The concert was sliced into three movements: first, a “Tommy”-centered medley with the orchestra (a different, local outfit for each show) at full strength; then a cluster of early-career odds and ends without the symphonic outfit; and finally a “Quadrophenia”-focused segment that concluded as most Who shows have in recent memory, with the ever-bombastic “Baba O’Riley.”

After about an hour, the ensemble left the stage and the core band — now merely a seven-piece — ran through a handful of “golden oldies, just like we are,” as Daltrey put it.

Here fans heard a jaunty “I Can See For Miles” — miraculously the band’s only Top 10 single in the U.S. — and a folksy rendition of “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” with only Daltrey wailing and Townshend mercilessly hammering his acoustic guitar.

 

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