September 26, 2020

1994-02-26 – The News Journal

1994 02 26 The_News_Journal_Sat__Feb_26__1994_

J ust Who’ 8 concert was it anyway?

Roger Daltrey does
Pete Townshend’s

repertoire his way

By IRA ROBBINS
Newsday

1f the Jackson family fiasco was
muddled by irrelevant guests and
an inability to stay focused on
who was being honored, it was
clear from the outset of "Daltrey
Sings Townshend" Wednesday
(recorded for tonight's pay—per~
view special) that the vocalist was
there strictly for his own benefit.

Faced with Pete Townshend's
refusal to reunite The Who. and
Roger Daltrey‘s exclusion from
the rebirth of "Tommy." the vig-
umus and trim singer used the
neeasion of his 50th birthday to
mount his own post-rock interpre-
tation of Townshend's work, com-
plete with a full-t'ledged Juilliard
m'ehesti'a and ace electric musi-
cians, in a classy setting.

Despite the pretext of paying

IF YOU WATCH

Show: ”Daltrey Sings Town-
shend”

WMStonight

Channel: TCI pay-per-vlew
channel 49 tor $24.95. Call

(800) 885-0226

homage to the songwriter respon-
sible for his career (a debt he

openly acknowledged). Daltrey
left Townshend's name out of it
until late in the three-hour show,
when he finally brought the hon-
oree onstage. With 28 Townshend
tunes. it was impossible to discern
the line between celebration and
exploitation.

The first segment was mostly
awful: an obnoxious Townshend-
lite orchestra] overture. Daltrey's
slow. lounge-jazz version of "I
Can See for Miles." an overar-
ranged "You Better You Bet"
that revealed the hoarseness of
his upper register. and "Love,
Reign O’er Me" reconfigured as a
drippy French film score. The

Roger Daltrey with The Who in 1977.

hapless renditions of "I Cant Ex-
plain" and "Substitute" by the
Spin Doctors were an embarrass-
ment: Linda Perry the 4 Non
Blondes singer whom Daltrey
compared, with a straight face. to
Janis Joplin sounded like a
contestant in an Ann Wilson
scream-off.

But the show's second half got

off to a riveting, inspiring start
with Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam.
Appearing alone onstage with
just an electric guitar, he brought
obvious familiarity and care to
stripped-down but letter-perfect
renditions of "The Kids Are Al-
right," "Sheraton Gibson" (with
excellent finger-picking) and ”My
Generation,” done in late-'70s
Who style, first as a slow blues
and then a strong rocker. If any
real tribute was going to be paid
Wednesday. Vedder wrote the big-
gest check.

Although Townshend used the
on-stage musicians (many of
whom, like keyboardist Rabbit
Bundrick, guitarist Phil Palmer
and drummer Simon Phillips,
have previously served him as
sidemen), he managed to make his
two numbers - a moody "And I
Moved" and a stirring, dramatic
"Who Are You" m stand apart
from the rest of the show. And
when he joined in a massed,
shambling encore of ”Join To-
gether," he had to fight for a'turn
at the microphone. Some tribute.