I saw the LA show, The Hollywood Bowl, but I can't remember the year off hand. It was the last tour with John Entwistle?
Anyway, when the band played The Kids Are Alright I was hanging on each chord Townshend played on that Richenbacker. He played the song like it is an acoustic song, and that guitar does ring like a bell. That last chord of the song has a deliberate strum that is a tad slower than the other chords of the song. And when Pete hit that last chord is was absolutely stunning as was the entire song that night. Nobody ever did power pop better than this guy did it. I think I would rate this up there with Ray Davies finer vintage moments as well as the better early Beatles stuff. Pete knew this song is great, and it was so fine hearing it finally after all those years.
It reinforced the fact that most of what passes as power pop, jingle jangly guitars today came right from this era and sound, if not this writer. The minimal number of chords used and the Brit Invasion small combo unit approach which somehow reaches a symphonic level of arrangement when it clicks. And it would not click without there being songs as good as Townshend's songs are.
I am grateful that I made it to this show and saw this man play this song with Daltry singing it. It was not played at the previous Who shows that I attended and it is such a lovely song. The Hollywood Bowl is a horrible place to see a loud rock act because there is a noise ordinance due to residents living in close proximity, and it never gets loud enough for me. And for the Who you definitely need a little volume before it feels comfortable. And so after five or six songs I bolted forward to the front up about what seemed like 50 rows closer. There the sound was slightly better. But not that much. What was better is that I could see Pete hit those magical chords and experience the show not as a loud rock experience but as an intimate performance of that song mentioned above. There are just so few chances anymore to experience this simple thing I am watching and waiting for.
Townshend, Davies, and Waters being three favorites from the UK I am glad to have caught in a setting other than the nose bleed seats.
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