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Story and photos by Rob GrabowskiRoger Daltrey rolled into a sold-out House of Blues last night and wasted no time getting right into the mix of things with a roaring version "Who Are You." With a very diverse crowd, ranging from the young to the young at heart, the crowd devoured Daltrey's weathered voice as he still delivered with his signature range and emotion as if he were still in his mid 20s fronting The Who. Looking very fit and a man quite younger than 65 - he made no excuses about why he chose to do this tour saying that he wanted to keep his voice in shape for future Who projects and hence the tour name, Use It Or Lose It.
Daltrey professed that one of his personal favorites is "Behind Blue Eyes" and from the enthusiasm of the crowd as he belted out a very emotional version, it was apparent that he wasn't alone with his affection for this Who classic. While Pete Townshend may not have been shredding his guitar for last night's performance, his younger brother Simon did an admirable job doing both guitar and vocals as he kicked the crowd into gear singing "Going Mobile."
The great thing about seeing one of the greatest rock 'n roll stars of all-time in such an intimate setting was the interaction Roger had with his audience as he told stories about the classic songs and gave a real storytellers feel to the evening. With a devilish grin, Daltrey joked that while the Beatles were singing songs like "She Loves You" and "I Want to Hold Your Hand" that they (The Who) had other (maybe not so pretty) things on their minds! The easy natural vibe in the room seemed to pull you into Daltrey's living room as he made you feel like a welcome guest. Playing such Who classics as "I Can See for Miles," the cheeky "Squeeze Box," and "Baba O'Riley" were awe-inspiring, as the songs themselves have taken on a life of their own, and to see Daltrey perform them with his own spin really gives an appreciation for why music is meant to be heard live. While the classics are what really draws the crowds, it's the deep cuts like "Pictures of Lily," "Blue, Red and Grey," and "Tattoo" that made this performance a special treat.
To go one further, as if he needed to, Daltrey explained how he admired Johnny Cash and unfortunately never had the opportunity to meet him. Daltrey paid homage to the late great Cash by playing a medley that had the crowd participating in a sing-along during the chorus of "Ring of Fire." While he hasn't done a solo tour since 1985, he took this crowd on a musical roller coaster for nearly an hour and forty five minutes delivering an unforgettable experience. And while Daltrey may be the guy who sang "I hope I die before I get old," he shows no signs of slowing down, his fans wouldn't let him even if he wanted to, so perhaps he isn't 65 years old but, rather 65 years young.
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