Talking about my generation, the London rock band The Who which formed in 1964 a year before I was born brought their “The Who Hits Back” tour to the Little Caesars Arena Tuesday night in downtown Detroit and didn’t disappoint. Music lovers and Who fans from all over the great lakes state and even our neighbors from across the river in Canada left with memories that will last a lifetime. A trip down memory lane was indeed the theme with fans from every age group singing along with Roger Daltrey and Pete Townsend cheering on every iconic guitar lick from Pete to Daltrey’s classic mic swing. Opening up the night was former (Barenaked Ladies) lead singer Steven Page and his new band Steven Page Trio. The 7-song set was mostly Barenaked Ladies songs which delighted the early arrivals and our Canadian neighbors.
After the stage was setup for The Who you looked around with your mind wondering this is it, I’m finally seeing The Who the band i grew up with. The stage was filled with orchestra chairs, instruments, and two nice sized monitors one on each side of the stage displaying while never forgetting the original past members, drummer Keith Moon and bass guitarist John Entwistle. The LCA went dark with fans cheering loudly Roger Daltrey and Pete Townsend appeared and it was finally happening. Opening things up with Tommy’s Overture, Daltrey with tambourines in hand stepped to the mic and began the 2:05 set, a set that a nice mix of old and new. The Who didn’t come alone, no they brought a 30-piece orchestra with them, did I studder, no I did not, I said orchestra. The first half of the set the band played with the orchestra, and it was a flawless mix between the two. The orchestra was spot on like expected playing effortlessly to tracks like Pinball Wizard, Who are You, and Eminence Front. The orchestra consisted of local talent recruited for the show, which I’m guessing happens in every city was led by touring cellist Audrey Snyder and crowd favorite violinist Katie Jacoby which by the way rocked the crowd when she closed the show with Baba O’Riley’s violin finale.
Giving the orchestra a little breather, the band played classic hits like Won’t Get Fooled Again and Behind Blue Eyes taking you back to your younger school days both back from 1971. In my house growing up almost every Sunday my dad would crank out his jams introducing me to such bands as The Who, Bob Seger and Tina Turner to name a few. Like I mentioned earlier a trip down memory lane. Speaking of Behind Blue Eyes Pete sat and played acoustic guitar joined by a cello and violin, what a pleasant sound to hear so very well done. Later, Pete played alongside his brother Simon Townsend who by the way has worked with talents such as Jeff Beck, Pearl Jam and David Grohl took lead when Pete left the stage due to audio issues with his earpiece.
The showstopper of the night came on the very last song of the set, Baba O’Riley. Just fucking WOW! Yes, what a sight to be seen. With orchestra present Roger Daltrey and Pete Townsend were instantly young again, I mean with Daltrey tying his mic cord around his arm to Pete shredding his red guitar to hell, to the peaceful sounds from the orchestra it was goosebump city. The highlight of course came from violinist Katie Jacoby taking center stage and just whaling on the violin finishing the night on a high note giving you that extra boost to take home with you. The crowd was transfixed all night, Roger voice is still solid, Pete’s hair is no longer but his guitar shreds are still badass! At 70 years of age and still owning the stage and selling out city’s the band is a must see. The fall tour just recently kicked off with Detroit being the second stop the tour. If you want to feel young again for a couple of hours and be wowed grab your tickets and check out The Who in a city near you.
Below is my gallery from that night. Thank you for checking out my review and remember America, horns up and keep rocking!