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“We’ve been coming to D.C. for 49 years now, and we always have a great time,” said The Who vocalist Roger Daltrey last night at the end of its sold out Verizon Center show. The show, part of its “The Who Hits 50” tour, was rescheduled from last year due to Daltrey’s bout with viral meningitis, and ran roughly two hours. Tracks from all releases throughout its five decades were included, and sure, they included all the obvious hits, like “Who Are You” and “Baba O’Riley.” But there were also cool lesser known songs scattered in, like the incredible instrumental “The Rock” by guitarist Pete Townshend, and “Slip Kids,” which was played even though Townshend was sick and could barely talk (he took the Lou Reed talking-style approach to lyrics instead). Thankfully, rhythm guitarist Simon Townshend sounds a great deal like his brother Pete, so the songs didn’t suffer much, and allowed the elder brother to pour all of his windmilling energy into his guitar.
The spine-tingling highlight, though, had to be Daltrey’s voice. Somehow, all these years later, he still retains that ability to hit those bombastic screams live—”Love Reign o’Me” and “Bargain” were prime examples.
“We’re a rock band. Not a rock ‘n’ roll band, but a rock band,” Daltrey said last night. Some might joke that The Who have been around so long they no longer have anything to offer, but last night, they proved what they have to offer is a blueprint for younger bands on how to play. And still play at 110 percent, long after the shine has worn off.
See photos from the show in the gallery.