March 26, 2007

The Who Throw Sparks In Tampa

photo by Donald Gibson // March 25, 2007
Thirteen days ago, Roger Daltrey walked off of the Ford Amphitheatre stage, shaking his head in frustration, unable to sing the first song of that night’s scheduled concert due to illness.

Last night, The Who returned to make up the gig, big time.

Armed with guitar, Pete Townshend surged into the opening riff of “I Can’t Explain,” setting Daltrey up to deliver the vocal goods. This time, the voice held up.

Ostensibly touring in support of their most recent album, last year’s impressive Endless Wire, The Who played but a few tracks from it, opting instead to treat a spirited Tampa crowd to more familiar material. Endless Wire’s mini-opera, Wire & Glass, was dropped from the setlist in favor of two surefire classics: “Substitute” and “The Kids Are Alright.”

Other highlights included “The Seeker,” “Eminence Front,” and an incendiary version of “My Generation” that segued into “Cry If You Want.”

The mightiest warhorses, “Who Are You,” “Baba O’Riley,” and “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” predictably received the most rousing of responses, elicited not only by the anthemic quality of the songs, but also by the venom Townshend unleashed with his electric guitar.

Clearly not over his ailment, Roger Daltrey had admitted early on that his voice would not be at its best, but he offered to the audience, “What I’ve got is yours”. By the end of the night, Daltrey had more than lived up to his word and the Who lived up to their legend.

March 08, 2007

Big Love For Buckingham in Tampa

Beginning a much-anticipated, sold-out concert with three solo, acoustic songs could cause an audience to either grow restless, irritated, or bored.

However, when Lindsey Buckingham took the Tampa Theatre stage on Wednesday night, there seemed a collective concentration throughout the crowd, with everyone intent on listening to the music legend finger-picking his guitar and singing songs from his solo catalog as well as from his tenure with Fleetwood Mac.

Buckingham is on the road promoting his latest solo album,
Under The Skin, a set of songs that sound far more sparse and intimate than the polished productions of his prior solo works and Mac compositions. Tracks like “Not Too Late,” which started the show, and “It Was You,” mirrored the album arrangements, while still yielding inspired live performances.

Some of his older cuts also received more subtle treatment during the concert, remarkably so on his 1981 hit, “Trouble,” which sounded more immediate and edgier than its original pop-radio-friendly version. Even after his more-than-capable band joined in, accordingly filling out the sound, Buckingham nonetheless stood out as a towering singular talent.

Buckingham’s virtuosity on the guitar never seemed so evident as during his performance of “I’m So Afraid,” from the Fleetwood Mac
album, the first record with him and (then-girlfriend) Stevie Nicks in the fray. In last night’s live setting, within the ethereal architecture of the Tampa Theatre, the song (and most notably, Buckingham’s searing guitar solo) ascended toward a mesmeric climax.

Following a lively version of “Tusk,” with a near-competent synthesizer substituting for the USC marching band heard on the original track, the main set concluded with one of Fleetwood Mac’s gigantic hits from Rumours
, “Go Your Own Way.”

“Holiday Road,” the bouncy theme from the film,
National Lampoon’s Vacation (and, arguably, Buckingham’s most recognizable solo song), began the encore. Then, as if returning in tone to how the show serenely began, additional selections from Under The Skin, including “Show You How” and “Shut Us Down,” softly brought a night of incredible music to a close.

(photo © Donald Gibson)