The Who, a band that first stormed Los Angeles in 1967 during a debut gig at the Hollywood Bowl, have announced a 50th-anniversary North American tour. Extending through much of 2015, “The Who Hits 50!” tour (actually occurring during the band’s 51st year) will feature founding members Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey.
After a first leg that’s set to begin in mid-April and extend through the South, Midwest and Eastern Seaboard, the band is scheduled to arrive at Staples Center during Round 2, in a little less than a year -- Sept. 21, 2015. A few days earlier, on Sept. 16, the band is also to play Orange County’s Honda Center. From there, the tour is to focus on the West, Northwest and Canada before heading back east for a final gig on Nov. 4, 2015, in Philadelphia.
The band was founded in London when Daltrey, Townshend and John Entwistle gathered after a number of mix-and-match lineups, eventually adding drummer Keith Moon. Delivering a sound that promised “Maximum R&B,” the band early on became known for incendiary live sets. Townshend has since smashed more electric guitars than most players have owned.
Die-hards may validly argue that the band is a whisper of its former self, considering the deaths of Entwistle and Moon. As confirmed during the band’s “Quadrophenia” gig in 2013, Townshend can barely jump -- though he can still windmill -- and Daltrey has a hard time hitting the “Love Reign O’er Me” climax.
But the show I saw at Staples Center was a fantastic (if admittedly nostalgic) trip through one of rock’s great concept albums. It proved that the band’s songs still contain enough spirit and energy to fuel the engines, and fill an arena with rock.
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