The Who to close the last day of Desert Trip opening for Roger Waters. Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey to overcome their underdog status just as they did at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 and through much of the ‘70s, when they were overshadowed respectively by Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin.
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“To expect a complacent, mailed-in show from this band would not be to understand what The Who is about,” said fan Adam MacGregor of Duncan, British Columbia. “They’re here to prove what Who fans have always known: At the top of their game, few compare. Don’t be surprised if The Who wind up stealing the show from their more well-known counterparts.”
Sure enough, Townshend called Jimi Hendrix “a nuisance” and complained that The Who’s ‘70s hits was overwhelmed on radio by Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven.” The band came out swinging with the volume on 10 and the hits coming one after another, starting with “Can’t Explain” and featuring “Who Are You,” one of the most licensed songs on television, as their third song.
A big difference between the Roger Waters band and The Who is that The Who has long had a more prominent place in pop culture, as a video played during an instrumental song called “The Rock” illustrated.
Surprisingly, The Who’s baby-boomer anthem, “My Generation,” failed to stir the crowd early
in the evening. After their “Behind Blue Eyes” from their album Who’s Next, Townshend said what some might have been thinking. “This is sounding like a nostalgia exercise,” he said. “Well, it is in a way, isn’t it?”
The “Rock” instrumental actually helped bring the crowd into the show while also giving Daltrey a chance to rest his vocals before giving a tour d’ force performance of “Love, Reign O’er Me” from the Who’s second rock opera, “Quadrophenia
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