After having to postpone their North American tour due to lead singer Roger Daltrey falling ill, rock legends The Who finally played their first of two Toronto dates to a packed Air Canada Centre crowd. Making the night even more special, this concert happened to fall on Daltrey’s 72nd birthday, a date that is also shared by Canadian pop artist Justin Bieber, which of course, prompted a few jokes at the 22 year old’s expense, courtesy of the one and only Pete Townshend.
Fans braved horrible weather conditions to get to the show, with busses in the region actually being cancelled the following morning, but none of that mattered once the show began, and an image reading “Keep Calm, Here Comes The Who” popped up on screen. The boys shared stories of their times in Toronto throughout the years while also paying homage to their band mates who are no longer with us.
Hits like “Pinball Wizard” and “My Generation” had the crowd on their feet, belting out lyrics and dancing like nobody was watching. Whether this was their first time seeing The Who, or they had seen them throughout the many decades The Who have been leaving their mark on rock music history, the way the crowd identified with the music was almost as enjoyable to watch as the show itself.
Not showing their age in the same way some of our favorite rockers might, after a few songs Townshend stopped the show, commenting “I finally figured out what was wrong with my guitar amplifiers,” and after a brief pause saying, “they weren’t loud enough,” before barrelling into another Who classic.
Ofcourse, to end out the night The Who busted out some of their greatest hits, namely “Won’t Get Fooled Again” and “Baba O’Riley”, captivating the audience with Daltrey’s patented scream and harmonica playing respectively.
Although the younger generation may know most of The Who’s bigger hits from the beginning of various CSI programs, the path through which someone finds music they connect with is not what is important, but simply, the connection itself.
Young or…not so young, music is still one of the best ways to either find yourself, or have a great time while you figure it out, and really, what better place to do so than The Who Hits 50!’s first night in Toronto.
– Morgan Bates