Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

The Who condense a 50 year career in to two hours of rock and roll greatness

29 June 2015, 15:38 | Written by The Line of Best Fit

It’s a no brainer why the original Modfather is supporting the band who epitomized 60s Brit cool at Hyde Park tonight (26th June).

Paul Weller is the apotheosis of what Mod means, from the sharp feather cut to the impeccable clothing and the Benjamin Button talent of remaining effortlessly youthful. He glides through his back catalogue with ease, performing his highly acclaimed solo work including “Broken Stones”, “The Changingman” and “You Do Something To Me”. But it’s the foot tapping revelry of The Jam’s “Town Called Malice” which clearly makes the show, even outshining a guest appearance from Miles Kane, who comes on to perform “That’s Entertainment”. A slick performance from start to finish.

There’s no other venue as suited to The Who as Hyde Park; London is the place where it all kick-started, where the tunes were written and the stories and legends were told and no matter what your age or background, you can’t help but feel a deep thrill as the opening, slashing chords of “I Can’t Explain” kick in, thick and reverberant around the 50,000 strong crowd.

From that point onwards it was a meaty platter of the finest of The Who’s back catalogue. Cleverly playing right into the hands of their fans, The Who’s set was splashed vividly with all their greatest hits, ensuring that entertainment levels were at a peak from start to finish.

They may have pushed the seventy mark, but their set was delivered with a energy and passion that could put performers half their age to shame. Their original followers also carry on that theme with just as much passion and gusto. The crowd may be distinctly grey, but it’s also peppered with bunches of youths in parkas and Fred Perrys.

The Who have the iconic charm of the 60s to thank for their continuous bevy of young fans, indebted to the swinging, high-octane cool of the Mod scene. They’re a band entrenched in the smart swagger format that has kept bands afloat since god knows when, and youngsters find it altogether inspiring and enthralling. It’s like a union of commercial friendly rock, but with a style and attitude that gave birth to the original scene fueled by working class ambition and adolescent rage.

Perhaps Pete Townshend knows the timelessness of his music as he introduces youth soundtrack “My Generation” as a song for “anyone, anytime, anywhere” to loud applause from the crowd. Of course, it was always going to be nostalgia drenched, but The Who do it so unashamedly that no one can complain. Driven by pure passion, Roger Daltrey’s voice can still bellow like it used to and Townshend performs like a man possessed, never shaking that windmill guitar motion, tearing through tracks including “The Kids Are Alright”, “Who Are You”, “I Can See For Miles” and “Pictures Of Lily”, which is dedicated to Weller.

As “Who Are You”played, images of Keith Moon and John Entwhistle were beamed onstage; poignant and touching, especially for a band who’ve amassed 50 years in the business. Five decades is a lot to squash into a two hour set, especially when your back catalogue includes two rock operas, so there are medleys aplenty, especially when playing Quadrophenia songs, with “Love Reign O’er Me” remaining still as mind-blowing as ever.

Whilst there’s only half of them left, Daltrey and Townshend have the personality in spades to entertain the crowd and the humility to go with it. “We didn’t think we’d last the week, and here we are, 50 years on” states Daltrey, showing no signs of mellowing. Finishing with a thoroughly epic “Won’t Get Fooled Again”, they’re a prime example of “that rock and roll that just won’t go”. A living testament to the pure power and influence of guitar driven music, whether you want to accept it or not.

Share article

Get the Best Fit take on the week in music direct to your inbox every Friday

Read next