Live review: Roger Daltrey

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Roger Daltrey w/ Paper Zoo

The Fillmore Charlotte

Nov. 22, 2009

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The Deal: The Who's frontman hits The Fillmore for two hours of music — Who songs and a couple of covers.

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The Good: The night started out with the oddity that is Paper Zoo. The four-piece band from Los Angeles sounded like some kind of Floyd-Zappa conglomerate... but not the good songs. Combining vocals with harmonies that were falsetto and musical atmospheres, it was hard to get your ears around it. At least Zappa and Floyd had extreme proficiencies at their craft. I might give them a chance on CD, but the band's live show seemed to be an odd fit — almost as odd as their collective haircuts.

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Daltrey hit the stage shortly before 9 p.m. and immediately told the crowd this would not be a "Who show." He was planning on playing a number of Who tunes in his own way, in addition to playing covers by people who have influenced him. He spent a good portion of the early part of the night telling stories between songs — sharing stories of John Entwistle, the meaning of the word "bollocks," how he once tried to stop singing "Behind Blue Eyes" and the influence of Johnny Cash.

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The set kicked off with an eight-minute rendition of "Who Are You" with Daltrey on the acoustic guitar that quickly set the tone of the night. He noted that he was trying out ear monitors for the first time and wasn't sure how long they'd last. He said the band had always gotten their sound from the stage, but that Who guitarist Pete Townsend's hearing problems had made the idea of ear monitors more appealing. After two songs, Daltrey pulled them out.

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He did a stunning rendition of "Behind Blue Eyes" before tackling a few of the more obscure Who tunes — "Tattoo" and "Going Mobile" as well as covers of The Chieftans' "Freedom Ride" and Little Feat's "Gimme a Stone."

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It should be noted that one of his guitarists on this tour was Simon Townsend, brother of Pete.

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This was Daltrey's first official solo tour, though he had once played six shows back in the mid-1980s. For this outing, Daltrey said the band rehearsed for 10 days and are just out to have fun and keep his voice in shape, thus calling the tour, "Use it or Lose It." He performed a short version of Bo Diddley's "I'm a Man" which led into a brief version of "My Generation" into a full-on sing-along during "I Can See for Miles" which brought a big smile to Daltrey's face, as he told the crowd it was one of his favorite moments of the night. Of course, "Squeezebox" and "Baba O'Riley" were toward the end of the night before the scheduled encore.

By the end of the night, Daltrey's shirt was soaked in sweat and completely open. He did a brief tribute to Johnny Cash to kick off what was planned to be the encore. Daltrey never left the stage, however, and finished his set by thanking the crowd for all they've given him over the years.

The Bad: How in the blue hell did this show not sell out?!? It was Roger freakin' Daltrey. Two hours of Who songs in a small club — when will that chance happen again?

The Verdict: By the time "Baba O'Riley" hit full stride, it sure as hell felt a lot like a Who show. At age 65, he's still got it. Hopefully, it's a sign of a tour next year, which Daltrey hinted at.

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Setlist

Who Are You

Pictures of Lily

Behind Blue Eyes

Tattoo

Days of Light

Freedom Ride

Gimme A Stone

Going Mobile

I'm a Man>

My Generation>

I Can See For Miles

Squeezebox

Walk on Water

Young Man Blues

Baba O'Riley

Johnny Cash Tribute (I Got Stripes> Folsom Prison Blues> There You Go> Train of Love> Ring of Fire)

Naked Eye

Red, Blue and Grey

Without Your Love

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