The hills of Canandaigua saw a crowd mixed with baby boomers, couples, parents, teens and kids coming together to see one of the best and most influential rock bands in history, The Who. The English rock band performed a sold-out show to 15,000 people at Constellation Brands-Marvin Sands Performing Arts Center in Canandaigua, New York on Sunday, July 16.
Formed in 1963, the band was originally formed of Roger Daltrey (lead vocals), Keith Moon (drums), John Entwistle (bass) and Pete Townshend (lead guitar).
Touring for more than five decades and with the passing of Moon and Entwistle, The Who is currently comprised of Daltrey and Townshend, along with Townshend’s brother, Simon Townshend (guitar and mandolin), Jon Button (bass), Ringo Starr’s son, Zak Starkey (drums), Loren Gold (keyboards), John Corey (keyboards), and Frank Simes (musical director, keyboards, assorted instruments).
Although the band announced their 50th anniversary Farewell Tour in 2014, their lifelong fans show their support in continuing their tour across the world. Even aging in their early 70s, Townshend and Daltrey can still shred and get the crowd amped to hear some of the best rock’n’roll jams that today’s rock scene can pay tribute to today.
The band pleased fans with playing their most famous hits all night, taking us back to where rock originated from. The night opened up with the 1965 hit “I Can’t Explain” leading into the catchy “The Seeker.”
You could probably hear the thousands of people singing along to Daltrey’s jazzy classic rock “Who Are You” and after a couple more tunes from The Who’s early years, set off with their signature “My Generation,” featuring impressive instrumental exchanges and ending with a fiery tempo. Their performance slows down as Daltrey shows off his vocals with Townshend’s guitar in their rendition of “Behind Blue Eyes” before the rest of the band joins in high energy.
The crowd was surprised as Townshend plunked the chords to “The Punk and the Godfather” from their 1973 album, Quadrophenia. As the second of the band’s rock operas and deemed a musical autobiography of The Who, the album became a journey for the band and fans exploring life’s experiences of rejection, rebellion and search for one’s self. The band broke out into their instrumental jam “The Rock” from the same album, which can definitely take some responsibility of influencing some of the instrumental and progressive rock bands of today. The emotion of Townshend can literally be heard as he plays his heart out as the group breaks into their burning performance of “Love, Reign O’er Me,” the ending crescendo surging through the crowd and leaving us cheering.
Following their Quadrophenia arrangement, Daltrey’s vocals got jazzy with their performance of the 1982 “Eminence Front,” switching the heart-wrenching performance to a bluesy execution. The group rallied up fans again with their frenzied 1969 “Pinball Wizard,” and the crowd yelled out lyrics “it’s only teenage wasteland” in their 1971 “Baba O’Riley.”
The Who ended their performance with their ever-so powerful “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” leaving fans cheering and clamoring as Townshend and Daltrey finished off their final notes and waved to the roaring crowd as they walked off the stage.
I was somewhat disappointed that they didn’t come back on for an encore, although after ending their performance with their 1971 hits “Baba O’Riley” and “Won’t Get Fooled Again”, I guess there’s not much more that could top that.
The Who have upcoming shows in Atlantic City, NJ on Saturday, July 22 and Grand Rapids, MI on Tuesday, July 25 before hitting a six-night performance in Las Vegas, NV from Saturday, July 29 to Friday, August 11. Try to catch one of their shows, you’ll never know when it’ll be their last one.
Setlist: The Who – Canandaigua, NY – 7/16/17
I Can’t Explain The Seeker Who Are You The Kids Are Alright I Can See for Miles My Generation” Behind Blue Eyes Bargain Join Together You Better You Bet The Punk and the Godfather* I’m One The Rock Love, Reign O’er Me Eminence Front Amazing Journey** Sparks Pinball Wizard See Me, Feel Me Baba O’Riley Won’t Get Fooled Again
*first time since 2013 **with snippet of “Overture” and “It’s a Boy”