By Scott Smith
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Who’s Roger Daltrey isn’t losing it anytime soon.
The 66-year-old vocalist brought his “Use It or Lose It Tour” to Kansas City’s historic Uptown Theater on Saturday night, and he and his five-piece solo band gave ticket-buyers their money’s worth by shredding through Who rarities, a Johnny Cash medley and recurring blasts of exploratory hard rock and street-based blues.
Wearing a blue-and-white shirt, black jeans, black shoes and those small, now-familiar glasses, Daltrey looked comfortable, relaxed and inspired while commanding the attention of the capacity, 1,800-member audience.
The brightest spot, possibly, was Daltrey’s take of jazz master Mose Allison’s “Young Man Blues,” which emitted so much earthy energy and unbridled fire that it was reminiscent of The Who’s famous live cover version from 1970. Daltrey’s guitarists, Simon Townshend (brother of The Who’s Pete Townshend) and Frank Simes, slashed out an electric-guitar maze of raw sound on top of John Button’s bass, Loren Gold’s keyboards and Scott Devours’ drums. When they tackled The Who’s “Bargain,” Devours hit his large roto toms and cymbals so hard during the song’s great, noisy coda that his drum sticks literally splintered into twigs.
Daltrey, thankfully, tackled songs that rarely are played live by The Who, like “I Can See for Miles” and “Pictures of Lily.” The former, with its widescreen-like fury, stood loud and proud, drawing some of the loudest cheers of the evening, while the latter wove crunchy guitars through the track’s adventurous arrangement.
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Roger plays two more gigs before his summer break, on Friday, July 2 in Indianapolis, IN / Verizon Wireless Music Center and Saturday July 3 in Detroit, MI / DTE Energy Center.