October 1, 2020

1981-01-03 – Indiana Gazette

1981 01 03 Indiana_Gazette_Sat__Jan_3__1981_

Who performs
’Tommy’ benefit
in New York

NEW YORK (AP) — Meet the new
Who, a little older, grayer and
quieter, but still able to deiiver the
goods with a punch.

Before a acked house Tuesday
night at Ra in City Music Hall, the
Who played virtually its entire 1969
“Tommy" rock opera in a benefit
for autistic and abused children.

It was a different Who, however,
with a muted Pete Townshend most-
ly playing acoustic guitar because of
severe hearing problems from years
of playing loud electric guitar. He
had help on lead itar from Steve
Bolton, who adde a 19805 flavor to
the band’s ’605 standards.

John Entwistle’s superb bass at
times seemed to overpower the
other band members, but there was
added support from a five-member
horn section, three backup singers,
drummer Simon Phitlips and per-
cussionist Jodi Linscott. Roger Dal-
trey and Towshend were both in fine
voice. »

‘ The Who raced through an hour-
long, uninterrupted _ “Tommy,”
bringing the audience to its feet with
,“Pinball Wizard,” “I’m Free" and
"We’re Not Gonna Take It."

' Townshend, who wrote ”Tommy,"
Went through as many guitars as he
did in the old days, but this time they
all went off stage in one piece. One of
Daltrey’s two tamborines was the
only casualty.

The rock opera, with its muddled
story line about a deaf, dumb and
blind kid who’s cured and becomes a
rock celebrity, was first performed
in London in 1969. It was made into a
movie by Ken Russell in 1975, star-
ring Daltrey, Ann-Margret, Oliver
Reed, Eric Clapton, Keith Moon and
Elton John as the Pinball Wizard.
The Royal Canadian Ballet did its
own version and the London Sym-
phony Orchestra did a recording.

“Tommy” has a rather mystical
quality with its songs about pinball,
mobs and spiritualism.

Afier performing "Tommy," the
band returned for an encore, which
also“ lasted an .hour.‘ .Townshend
picked up an electric guitar for
“Can’t Explain." And the Who had
the audience on its feet again,
clapping and singing along to such .
Who classics as “Behind Blue
Eyes,“ “Love, Rein O‘er Me" and a
sizzling ”Won’t Get Fooled Again."