ROGER DALTREY – Another Legend Goes To Hollywood…Florida That Is

March 9, 2023, 3 weeks ago

Words by Jonathan Smith | Photos by Joel Barrios

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South Florida has become a favorite destination for a large number of old school hard rock originals of late, doing their part to defy the odds and their advancing years to relive the glory days of the ‘60s and ‘70s at venues that continue to fill to capacity. But with the approaching end of this state’s extremely war version of winter, arguably the most animated and off the hook artist of the golden era, namely The Who’s iconic vocalist Roger Daltrey, would take the stage in the aptly named city of Hollywood for an evening of nostalgia from what would seem a bygone era for anyone under the age of 40. Though flying solo with his own flock of touring musicians, the lion’s share of this event would be dedicated to recapping the extensive and highly impressive catalog of The Who’s career, the crowd that would gather at the Hard Rock Live on February 20 of 2023 would bear witness to a spectacle that, while not as outwardly youthful as the band in question’s heyday, would carry the torch with a similarly level of musical poise and impact as back then.

The extensive set that would be unveiled for the awaiting masses would be presented in a quasi-chronological form, progressing from the primordial days of the British invasion era up until the tail-end of the original quartet’s run in the late ‘70s, being occasionally interrupted by some jarring time jumps to some of Daltrey’s own solo work at intermitted points. Though now in his 79th year, Daltrey would have little trouble recreating the power and polish that he originally took to ‘60s staples such as “I Can See For Miles” and “Tattoo” early in the set, to speak nothing for a rousing rendition of hit single off 1969’s Tommy “Pinball Wizard” that had the audience riveted. A rather sizable stylistic left-turn would be made in the midst of this with a solid performance of Roger’s ‘80s solo piece and partial nod to Bruce Springsteen “After The Fire” that, while not as gritty as the original, definitely got the job done. Then again, other rocking entries occurring early in the performance like “The Seeker” and ‘60s romp “Pictures Of Lily” had a decent share of edge to them with Daltrey projecting as much power as he had in him while working an avid crowd.

As the evening of hard rock reminiscence progressed, this charismatic impresario from the days of tailored suits and modern jazz clubs seamlessly took all in attendance through the latter days of The Who’s legendary run. Classic and infectious odes like “Behind Blue Eyes”, “Won’t Get Fooled Again” and “Baba O’Riley” would bring the proverbial house down while showcasing the band’s early foray and arguably pioneering foray into the arena and progressive rock craze of the ‘70s, with Daltrey being in full form throughout. A slight hiccup would occur during the performance of mid-‘70s hit “Squeeze Box”, but Roger would take it in stride and raise the concept of doing things over a second time to an art form. Latter-day entry of the band’s ‘70s exploits prior to the tragic loss of The Who’s flamboyant and bad boy drummer Keith Moon “Who Are You” landed with a boisterous yet bittersweet bang, while subsequent early ‘80s staples “Another Tricky Day” and “You Better You Bet” proved no less gripping to the crowd, whom were often giving a go at being amateur backing vocalists during the highly infectious chorus segments.

Following a rowdy rendition of one of The Who’s favorite cover songs of yesteryear, namely Mose Allison’s “Young Man Blues” to close things off, an air of triumph permeated all in attendance as Daltrey introduced his troupe of support musicians and gave his final thanks. If there was any complaint to be made about what had been delivered to the awaiting throngs of South Florida, it would be that there were only 19 songs included within the massive package, but even the legends of hard rock are only human and can only muster so much glory while flirting with their 80th year on this earth. Though only one of The Who’s two surviving members was rocking the masses, and his days of swinging the microphone like a madman hell bent on inadvertently taking Pete Townsend’s head off while his dearly departed band mates proceeded to destroy their instruments were well behind him, the same fire and spirit that crowned the original fold as hard rocking modifiers of mod culture and mammoth pioneers of the power pop mold was on display, bad puns and alliteration notwithstanding. 

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