Tuesday, July 2, 2002
Los Angeles The surviving members of The Who expressed their grief Monday night with noise instead of tears.
Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey, the surviving members of the seminal, 1960s British rock band, performed at the Hollywood Bowl in the group's first concert since the death last week of longtime bassist John Entwistle.
The first two shows of the group's North American tour were canceled after Entwistle, 57, died in his sleep Thursday in Las Vegas, and his bandmates vowed to continue as a tribute.
"I just wanted to say that tonight we played for John Entwistle," Daltrey said after opening the show with the hits, "I Can't Explain," and "Substitute."
"He was the true spirit of rock 'n' roll, and he lives on in the music we play," Daltrey said.
The group, featuring substitute bass player Pino Palladino, then launched into a frenetic rendition of "Who Are You."
Earlier, Townshend said he did not expect Palladino, who has played with Tears for Fears, Eric Clapton and Elton John, to "emulate, parody or copy John Entwistle in any way."
"The one request I made was that ï¿½ at first ï¿½ he play as loud as he can bear," the guitarist said in a message posted on his Web site.
Entwistle, Daltrey and Townshend were three of the founding members of the rock quartet. Drummer Keith Moon died in 1978 of a drug overdose.
The group, founded in London in the early 1960s, was part of the British rock invasion along with the Rolling Stones and the Beatles. Their parade of hits included "I Can See For Miles," "Pinball Wizard" and "Won't Get Fooled Again."
The Who has been known for explosive shows that often culminate in the smashing of their musical instruments on stage. But Entwistle's bass guitar work was known for its great reserve, anchoring the antics.
Daltrey and Townshend said they would do their best to turn their grief into energy, hoping to preserve the band's vigor as they did after Moon's death.
"I will try hard not to fall into any of my usual mini-depressions on this tour," Townshend said in an earlier written statement. "We are musicians, entertainers. We can do it. We have the right tools. No worries."
Fans at the packed Hollywood Bowl gave the group a standing ovation before a single note was played. Palladino played the first few songs off to the side, often in shadow.
Before the set began, screens featured a video of the group rehearsing at Townsend's home nearly two weeks before Entwistle's death. The audience cheered and applauded each time Entwistle was seen.
Many said they were sorry that he was gone but believe The Who would survive his loss.
"The truth of the matter is, Entwistle was very mellow, so he affects the music but he doesn't affect the stage dynamic as much," said Howard Fuchs, 50, a Los Angeles attorney who said he had seen the group perform nearly 20 times. "He was unique and replaceable all in one."