Review - Roger Daltrey, Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow, Wed 6 Jul
Daltrey flies the Who flag, with compelling results
The truly distinctive thing about The Who was that each of the four members appeared to believe he was the band’s lead guitarist, even if guitar wasn’t the instrument he played. Each brought an exhibitionist’s swagger to his role; the whirling mania of Keith Moon on drums; John Entwistle’s predatory bass work; Pete Townsend’s relentless windmilling solos; and Roger Daltrey’s bellowed vocals, forceful enough to suggest the singer spent much of the 1970s trapping his fingers in car doors. The former two have been gathered to God now and Townsend is knackered and semi-deaf, leaving Daltrey to fly the Who flag, which he is more than happy to do, curating and protecting the legacy here with genuine affection.
The set text tonight was Tommy, the band’s 1969 ‘rock opera’, played in its entirety, plus a jaunty bouquet of greatest hits, including a bluesy acoustic ‘My Generation’. Tommy, of course, is preposterous and glorious in equal measure, an electric hippy fantasia in which a deaf, dumb and blind kid assumes messianic status on account of his pinball skills, as happened so frequently in those days. Daltrey and his crack session band, including on guitar Townsend’s brother Simon, treat it reverently, as does a full house of misty-eyed blokes. The catchier bits are sublime and sometimes it meanders like a beatnik with a brain injury. Tommy played a pivotal role, however, in the expansion of rock’s vocabulary. Even without his combustible bandmates Daltrey returned it tonight to compelling life.