The Who: They're not kids anymore, but they're still alright.
Only Who drummer Keith Moon made good on the anthemic line, "Hope I die before I get old," although guitarist Pete Townshend, who had his own struggles with drugs and alcohol in the late '70s and early '80s, did his best to join him. While the group never officially called it quits, even after Moon's death in 1978, subsequent reunion tours have attempted to resuscitate the band's original spirit and inevitably have come up short. Add to that a lack of new material and MCA Records' propensity to release one revamped compilation after another, and the Who's legacy came close to being tarnished during the '90s. Surprisingly, this latest trek across America has halted that process. Townshend, singer Roger Daltrey, and bassist John Entwistle will be joined by two occasional sidemen, drummer Zak Starkey and longtime keyboardist John "Rabbit" Bundrick, and the group as a whole is performing better now than at any other time during the post-Moon era. During a July tour stop at Star Lake's Post-Gazette Pavilion in Pennsylvania, Townshend played with a passion and prowess that evoked his abilities of 30 years ago, while Daltrey and Entwistle were their rock-steady selves. The show wasn't a sentimental trip through classic rock radio in human form. Instead, the classic numbers flourished, thanks to a powerful united energy. The occasional oddity ("Let's See Action" and "Getting in Tune") popped up, as well as an acoustic rendition of "The Kids Are Alright." They might be balding and half-deaf, but Daltrey, Townshend, and Entwistle are finally playing with enthusiasm, and when they perform "My Generation," it becomes a defiant kiss-off that's punctuated by the fact that they're not just another rock and roll casualty.